Tampa judge orders psychiatric evaluation for accused bomber

Tuesday, August 27th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ A federal judge on Tuesday ordered a psychiatric evaluation and continued detention for a podiatrist accused of plotting to blow up Islamic mosques across Florida.

Robert J. Goldstein, 37, arrived in shackles in the courtroom and appeared disoriented during his bond hearing before U.S. District Judge Thomas B. McCoun III. He was silent throughout the hearing.

Goldstein is charged with possessing a non-registered destructive device and attempting to use an explosive to damage Islamic centers. The explosives were found his Seminole townhouse.

He could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

Goldstein's attorney, Myles Malman, said his client had a history of being emotionally disturbed and was on five medications, including Valium.

``At this present point in time, he is unable to properly assist me in defending him,'' Malman told the judge.

Malman also said his client was sleep deprived because his cell was lit day and night, but the judge showed little sympathy.

``The fact that he has been closely observed is a product of his own making,'' McCoun said. ``He represents a danger to the community at this point if he were to be released.''

During a search of Goldstein's home, deputies reported finding more than 30 explosive devices, including hand grenades, a 5-gallon gasoline bomb with a timer and a wire attached, and a cache of up to 40 licensed weapons, including .50-caliber machine guns and sniper rifles.

They also found a typed list of about 50 Islamic worship centers in the state and a detailed plan for bombing an undisclosed Islamic education center.

Gov. Jeb Bush has promised Muslim leaders that officials will visit about 200 mosques and schools to assess security risks.

On Monday, Goldstein's wife Kristi obtained a domestic violence injunction against him. In court documents, she said he has been threatening to kill her weekly since their November 1998 wedding and once held a loaded gun to her head when she threatened to leave.