UPDATE: Suspects released on $25,000 signature bonds

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UPDATE: Suspects released on $25,000 signature bonds

WEDNESDAY 5/29/19 5:28 p.m.

WAUPACA COUNTY, Wis. (WFRV) — Officials say the three suspects involved in the Waupaca County explosion are no longer being held in custody. 

Each of the three men have been released on $25,000 signature bonds. 

Kenneth Niemer, Scott Mattes, and Robert Mattes have been charged with Negligent Handling of Explosives – PTAC, as a party to a crime after a device exploded on Sunday in the town of Dupont. 

The explosion sent shrapnel into the abdomen of Paul Casperson, resulting in his death.

All three suspects are set to appear in court on June 11.

Victim identified in Waupaca County explosion

WEDNESDAY 5/29/19 3:47 p.m.

The Waupaca County Sheriff’s Office has released the name of the victim of Sunday’s explosion.

Officials say Paul Casperson, of Belvidere, Ill. passed away after being struck by shrapnel after a reported “cannon” exploded at a home in the Town of Dupont. 

The suspects have been charged and are set to appear in court on June 11. 

Complaint outlines details of Sunday’s Waupaca County explosion

WEDNESDAY 5/29/19 2:10 p.m.

Waupaca County Sheriff’s Office has released the criminal complaint regarding the home explosion in the Town of Dupont Sunday. 

According to the complaint, officers were dispatched to E6300 County Road S for an ambulance call “reporting there was an explosion and a male was hit in the abdomen and he was severely injured.”

When officials arrived at the scene shortly after 9:02 p.m., they “observed a male…laying on his back on the gravel road by a camper.” 

Officers say a man, “identified as Kenneth M. Niemer” a 42-year-old, and “a female applying pressure to [the victim’s]  stomach with a rag to stop the bleeding.” 

The victim was unresponsive, according to the report. 

Sheriff’s officers report an ambulance arrived shortly after, “loading [the victim] onto the ambulance.”

While this occurred, the report states an officer “overheard some people say there was a recording of the incident.”

The officer then made “contact with [the victim’s wife], who was present. She had the phone [the victim] was holding onto during the explosion.”

On the phone, officers found two videos, reportedly. 

In the first video, the report describes “a shirtless male, later identified as Robert Mattes, 37-year-old, light a fuse on a large pipe that was standing in a field, and take off running.” 

Seconds later, officials report a flash is seen out of the top of the pipe in the video. The document says the video ends here. 

In the second video, the report says “Mattes again lights a fuse on the pipe and the fuse burns until it reaches the pipe. There is then a large explosion and the phone hits the ground.” 

Officials spoke with Niemer about the videos.

In the report, officials say, “Niemer indicated he had brought a pipe, that he had manipulated with a plug welded onto the bottom, over to the party.”

Niemer went on to describe “the device as a ‘cannon’. He indicated ‘we dumped shotgun powder in the tube. We lit it once and it just flared up. We did it again but this time we used some paper toweling and put it in the pipe with a stick. We all stood by the fence. [The victim] was standing by the side of the camper. When it went off, he landed on the ground.”

Officers say Mattes “brought some paper towels and put them down the metal tube” after the first attempt did not result in an explosion.

Mattes “used a long wooden stick to pack the towels over the gunpowder. Scott Mattes then dropped an aerosol can of brake cleaner down the pope before his son Robert Mattes lit the fuse.”

The document goes on to say officers made contact with Robert Scott, who “corrected that it wasn’t brake cleaner he dropped down the pipe, it was an aerosol can of WD-40.”

Officials say the autopsy of the victim resulted in a “preliminary report indicated the cause of death was determined to be ‘penetrating fragment wound of the abdomen’.” The document goes on to say “a steel fragment was removed at autopsy.”

The sheriff’s office reports “the pipe used to make the explosive device is described as approximately four (4) feet long, 1/2 inch thick steel pipe.”

Niemer, Scott Mattes, and Robert Mattes are being charged with Homicide by Negligent Handling of Explosives – PTAC, as a party to a crime.

All three men are set to be in court on June 11. Each are being held on $25,000.00 bonds.

Third man arrested in connection with home explosion

TUESDAY 5/28/19 4:16 P.M.

MARION, Wis. (WFRV) — Waupaca County Sheriff’s Office says they have arrested another suspect in connection with the explosion in the county. 

A 60-year-old Marion male was arrested for homicide by negligent handling of dangerous weapons, explosives, or fire. 

Names are not being released at this time, according to officials, as the case is still under investigation.

One dead after explosion at Waupaca County home

MONDAY 5/28/19 6:46 P.M.

Police say a 44-year-old Illinois resident has died after being hit with shrapnel from an explosion.

The Waupaca County Sheriff’s Office says they were called to a home on County Road S in the town of Dupont on Sunday. The caller reportedly told police the Illinois resident had been hit by a piece of metal. The 44-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene.

Officials say an investigation determined a homemade explosive device had been improperly ignited. They say the metal tubing failed, causing the explosion.

A 38-year-old New London man and a 43-year-old Clintonville man were arrested Monday for homicide by negligent handling of dangerous weapons, explosives, or fire. Police are not releasing any names. The investigation is ongoing.

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