Guilty plea expected in federal pipe bomb case against Gloversville man


ALBANY – The man accused of possessing pipe bombs at his Gloversville residence in February is set to be in federal court Friday to change his plea in the case, according to a court filing.

Defendant Michael Darling’s attorney Joseph M. McCoy confirmed Monday that his client is expected to enter a guilty plea in the case.

Details on the potential plea were not available Monday.

Darling, 41, was indicted in June on one count each of possession of firearms by a prohibited person and unlawful possession of unregistered firearms.

He is accused of illegally possessing a .308-caliber rifle, a 20-gauge shotgun and six pipe bombs. He’s been in custody since his February arrest and has previously pleaded not guilty.

The potential change of plea comes about two weeks after a federal judge rejected a defense argument about the pipe bombs allegedly found in the case.

It also comes ahead of the most recently scheduled trial date in the case, Oct. 25.

Police found the pipe bombs at his 14 McLaren St. residence as they searched the home to check on his welfare. Two women who were family members expressed concern over text messages they’d received and had asked for Darling to be checked on.

At the residence, police encountered Darling’s then-girlfriend, who ultimately gave them permission to check the residence. When they arrived in an upstairs hallway, they saw a litter box that had “a pipe that appeared to resemble a pipe bomb body” sticking out of it, prosecutors wrote.

They then moved to a bedroom and saw packaging for a soldering iron in a garbage can, prosecutors wrote. In a closet, they saw what appeared to be empty rifle cases.

The defense argued Darling’s girlfriend did not have the power to let officers inside and that the items were not in plain view.

Prosecutors argued she did have that power and that the circumstances allowed them to look for Darling to check on his well-being. Once they spotted the items, they backed out and got search warrants, prosecutors argue.

The judge in the case denied a hearing on the issue. The judge then denied the motion to suppress, finding the officers’ search of the residence to have been proper under the circumstances.

The pipe bomb case took on added significance at a Darling detention hearing held after his February arrest, where prosecutors revealed that Darling remains a person of interest in the Feb. 6, 2019 death of his wife, Kristine M. Howland Darling, 44, the mother of a teenage daughter, at her Fort Johnson residence. Police have labeled her death as suspicious. Darling contends that his wife committed suicide, but police are continuing to sort out the circumstances of her death.

The most recent prosecution filing included another apparent denial from Darling in the death of his wife. It came in a note police found at his residence.

Kristine Darling’s death involved a gunshot and has remained an active investigation by the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department for more than two years. Montgomery County Sheriff Jeffery Smith in February called Darling a “person of interest” in the case. The department is working with state police on the investigation.

When police made their initial visit to Darling’s home, his girlfriend showed police paperwork in the home’s kitchen that appeared to be a suicide note or included language that he intended to harm himself, prosecutors wrote.

The envelope also included a note, prosecutors wrote, where Darling stated, “I didn’t hurt my wife. I’m going to keep defending myself.”

Investigators later learned that Darling had left for North Carolina and returned on Feb. 14 and checked into St. Mary’s Hospital. Police arrested Darling that day.

Categories: Fulton Montgomery Schoharie, News

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