The pipe that authorities detonated in UCSB biopsychology and art studio major senior Slade Morgan Giles’ Del Playa Drive apartment last month was found to be empty, but his case has recently been packed with a number of new allegations.
On Dec. 6, Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Dept. officers served a search warrant at Giles’ 6700 DP residence while investigating a rape allegation. While conducting the search, officers obtained a pipe closed at both ends – which was reported on the sheriff’s website to be a pipe bomb – black gun powder, illegal fireworks and under one ounce of Psilocybin (hallucinogenic mushrooms).
Giles’ preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 17, where he is being charged for felony possession of mushrooms, possession of bomb-making materials and a misdemeanor charge for unlawful possession of fireworks. The pipe, closed at both ends, was first examined by officers who called the Bomb Squad. The pipe was then taken into Giles’ kitchen where the Bomb Squad sandbagged it and destroyed it with a high-pressurized water cannon. It was then discovered that the pipe, which Giles claimed was an art project, was empty.
Giles, a former Associated Students representative and three-time A.S. presidential candidate, was found in possession of loose gunpowder, which he asserted was intended for his gun, for which he has a concealed weapons permit. Giles’ criminal defense attorney Steve Balash said he believes the local media blew the incident out of proportion with information provided by authorities.
“Because they found a pipe and black powder [the prosecution is] putting the two together,” he said. “The code says there has to be intent to make a bomb. There is no evidence to suggest this.”
Balash said he believes the affidavit, or declaration, for the GHB search warrant, which contains a 19-year-old UCSB student’s testimony of the evening of the alleged rape (Dec. 1), could have been obtained without enough supporting evidence. Yet, Balash said if it is deemed legal by a judge, “then anything they see or find in the search is fair game.”
The investigation began when the female alleged she felt she had been drugged at Giles’ residence, and with no recollection after accepting a mixed drink, woke up naked the next morning in Giles’ bed. After she filed a report, the Sheriff’s Dept. obtained a search warrant for GHB. No GHB was found during the search.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Dept. Public Information Officer Lt. Mike Burridge said since the initial rape investigation, three more women have come forward with similar reports.
“As far as the rape victims go, there were originally four rape reports filed by four different girls, and three of those rape cases are still currently under investigation,” he said. “There was the first girl, and almost immediately after reading the Nexus article about that girl, two other girls came forward. Then one girl came forward a short period of time afterwards.”
However, Balash said Giles has yet to be formally charged with a rape or sexual assault offense. “The charges are not too serious,” he said. “There is no evidence of him raping anybody.”
Amid all allegations, Giles continues to maintain his innocence and an optimistic outlook on his situation.
“I haven’t had one negative person come up to me, and I believe that is because people know the type of person I am. Everyone keeps telling me, to know me is to know I am innocent and incapable of the lies that the police are trying to say,” he said.
Giles said he is eager to get past the pending criminal charges, which he says have left a permanent stain on his reputation.
“It really messed up my finals, and my [Arts Bridge] scholarship is suspended right now,” he said. “They took a lot of my stuff. They took my computer – a lot of my classroom-related equipment. They took my cameras and broke one of them. They took my money … They took everything. Psychologically they destroyed me.”