County prosecutors on Friday dismissed their case against the accused Escondido bombmaker in light of a federal indictment filed Thursday accusing him of bombmaking and bank robbery.
The federal charges mean defendant George Jakubec is looking at a maximum sentence of 72 years. He had faced a maximum 40 years if convicted in the case brought by county prosecutors.
Jakubec was arrested at his home on Via Scott on Nov. 18, hours after a gardener working in the yard stepped on explosive material and triggered an explosion.
Authorities said they subsequently found at least 9 pounds of explosive compounds and other bomb-making materials, including 13 homemade grenades and shrapnel, at the house.
"It was the decision between the U.S. attorney and the (San Diego County) district attorney that the more appropriate place for this to be tried was in federal court, especially in light of the bank robbery charges," Deputy District Attorney Terri Perez said Friday morning after a hearing at the county courthouse in Vista.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Rees Morgan, who is handling the federal prosecution of Jakubec, echoed Perez's statement that moving the case from local to federal court was "a joint decision that it (the case) was appropriate for federal prosecution."
Criminal Defense attorney Michael Berg, who will represent Jakubec in the federal case, surmised the case was moved into federal court so that authorities could pursue a longer sentence.
"At a quick reading of the indictment, it appears that the charges might be overblown," Berg said.
Berg said he first met with Jakubec on Thursday night, and said his new client struck him as "very mild-mannered and very humble."
Federal agents transferred Jakubec, 54, from the Vista jail into federal custody, according to online records. Authorities said he will probably be arraigned at the federal courthouse in San Diego sometime Monday.
As the legal matters surrounding Jakubec start to gel, authorities spent Friday continuing their preparations to burn down his rented home at 1954 Via Scott, on the north side of Escondido.
Firefighters have been clearing trees off the property in anticipation of the burn, and a protective wall on the north side of the home was to be completed sometime Friday, said San Diego County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Melissa Aquino.
Work on the house should be minimal over the weekend, she said, but deputies from the sheriff's bomb squad will open holes in the roof of the home to create an air flow for the planned fire.
Just when the fire will be set remains unknown, although authorities said earlier this week that it could happen on Dec. 8.
Aquino said firefighters have consulted with the National Weather Service to help determine the best date to burn the house, which is said to contain a compound so sensitive that scuffing it could trigger a blast.
Authorities were also working to finish evacuation, shelter and traffic plans for residents of the north Escondido neighborhood around Jakubec's home, Aquino said. She noted that fliers will be distributed to residents of the affected areas 24 hours before the burn date, reminding people to plan ahead.