Tod L. Susaeta, a former Utah Power employee severely burned by a high-voltage line, has been sentenced to up to five years in prison for threatening to blow up Utah Power's president.
Defense attorney G. Fred Metos urged the judge to order Susaeta - who has mental-health and drug problems - into therapy rather than prison.But 3rd District Judge Tyrone E. Medley said Monday that the Midvale man was "a threat to the community and himself. I'm persuaded the risks to the community outweigh his needs."
Susaeta was severely burned on the job about three years ago. He required numerous skin grafts and eventually became addicted to pain-killing drugs. Family members said the 75,000-volt shock also may have damaged his brain.
Susaeta was permanently disabled in the accident. He won a settlement of several hundred thousand dollars from the company but continued to bear a grudge against Utah Power.
On Christmas Day 1995, the defendant took a 16-inch stick of dynamite to his brother Michael's home. Another brother, Darren Susaeta, saw the dynamite on the kitchen counter at Tod Susaeta's Midvale apartment later that day, according to a search warrant filed in 3rd Circuit Court.
Both brothers heard Tod Susaeta make threats to "blow up" the president of Utah Power, the documents state. The brothers later recanted, but the judge said he was satisfied the statements were made.
The brothers called a civil attorney, who alerted the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office. When police searched Tod Susaeta's apartment, they found the stick of dynamite in Susaeta's microwave oven. He was storing it in the oven because someone had said dynamite should be kept in a metal container, and it was the only one he could think of, Metos said.
Susaeta was charged with second-degree felony possession of an explosive, but later pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of attempted possession of an explosive.
In 1994, Tod Susaeta was charged with three separate felony cases involving prescription drugs. He pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts and was on probation at the time of the dynamite incident. In September 1995, he was arrested for drunken driving.