Boise bomb-making suspect held on $1M bond

Police say the Bench resident also collected guns and body armor.

kterhune@idahostatesman.comNovember 8, 2013 

  • Timeline of the case

    • Monday, Nov. 4: According to police, Joshua J. Finch holds his girlfriend's parents at his home on the Bench, threatening to kill them and kill police officers if the parents call 911. The parents are eventually able to leave.

    • Tuesday, Nov. 5: The parents inform police of the incident, and of Finch's alleged remarks. An investigation begins.

    • Wednesday, Nov. 6: Sometime in the morning, police visit Finch's home with arrest and search warrants. Concerned about their safety, they bring two mine-resistant military vehicles to act as cover for officers and immediate neighbors. They arrest Finch after ensuring the safety of three others in the home.

    At 1:35 p.m., police announce to the public that they may have found an explosive substance in the home. Around 4 p.m., police begin a voluntary evacuation of the neighborhood. Residents of 20 nearby homes are allowed back shortly after midnight.

    • Thursday, Nov. 7: Finch is arraigned on state kidnapping charges. At around 2:30 p.m., police again ask a few homes around Finch's to evacuate while the rest of the explosive materials are removed. Residents are allowed back shortly after 4 p.m.

This story has a correction: It should have said that a third party called police about an alleged kidnapping incident at the home of Joshua Finch — not the people who were kidnapped, as prosecutors said.

Police knew as they arrived to arrest Joshua J. Finch on kidnapping charges Wednesday morning that he might have explosives within his home.

They were tipped off by an acquaintance of the parents of Finch's girlfriend, who allegedly were held against their will Monday evening at the house on West Dorian Street, southeast of Overland Road and Vista Avenue.

The Boise officers brought along two mine-resistant former military vehicles that were given to the Boise and Nampa police departments earlier this year. The vehicles served as cover for officers approaching the home, and protection for close neighbors in case of a blast, police said Friday.

It wasn't until a couple of hours later, when investigators confirmed the presence of possibly explosive materials in a crawl space, that police alerted the public to the situation.

"At the time of the arrest, the officers felt honestly the greatest risk was probably to them and to the other occupants of the home. ... They had to get in there and see what they had," Boise police spokeswoman Lynn Hightower said Thursday. "It's always a balance — you don't want to cry wolf all the time."

Finch, 32, was arraigned Thursday in Ada County Fourth Judicial District Court on two counts of second-degree kidnapping related to the Monday incident. Investigators remained reluctant to specify what bomb-making materials were reportedly found in Finch's home, or what he may have intended to do with it all. State and federal prosecutors are examining that evidence and will likely take some time to decide their next steps.

"What evidence was found out there, including substances, as well as potential motivations he may have had, will all go directly to potential additional charges," Hightower said.

Prosecutors said Finch's girlfriend called her mother and father Monday, telling them that he was stockpiling guns, ammunition and body armor, and that she was worried.

When her parents came to the home to talk to Finch, he refused to let them leave, at one point grabbing the girlfriend's father by the shirt, prosecutors said. He allegedly told them he had guns, body armor and explosives and would kill them and kill police officers if the parents called 911.

Eventually, Finch released the pair, prosecutors said. They told police what had happened the next day.

On Wednesday, police made sure the girlfriend and two children in the house were safe before arresting Finch, Hightower said.

After finding the explosive materials, they asked the residents of 21 homes in the area to voluntarily evacuate. Those residents were able to return home shortly after midnight.

Police say they also found guns, ammunition and body armor during their search.

On Thursday afternoon, police continued removing hazardous materials from the home and asked families in six to eight neighboring houses to again evacuate in case something went wrong. Many were at work, Hightower said, minimizing any inconvenience. The evacuation was lifted shortly after 4 p.m.

To her knowledge, Hightower said Thursday, all hazardous material has been removed from the home.

Magistrate Judge Cathleen Irby set Finch's bond at $1 million in the kidnapping case, calling him a danger to the community and to law enforcement.

Prosecutors requested the high bond, citing his criminal history and the likelihood of additional charges. The defense had asked for a bond of $50,000, stating that Finch is unemployed and supports two children.

Irby also barred Finch from contacting his girlfriend, her children or her parents. His next court date is a Nov. 21 preliminary hearing.

Katie Terhune: 377-6219

The Statesman's Nate Poppino contributed to this report.

Idaho Statesman is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service