December 8, 2023

Sep. 12—A 33-year-old man who police say was carrying two pipe bombs in a backpack in Groton last year is not yet competent to stand trial, a judge in New London ruled Tuesday.

Benjamin D. Dahm, who faces multiple felony charges in connection with the Oct. 20, 2022, discovery of pipe bombs, understands the criminal court proceedings but is unable to assist in his own defense because of “grandiose delusions,” Jessica Tjardes, a licensed clinical social worker, testified Tuesday in New London Superior Court.

Dahm told his evaluation team that his potential defense strategies must involve his belief that his mind was manipulated, the report states.

Tjardes said it is the opinion of the team that evaluated Dahm that he can be restored to competency with treatment.

New London Superior Court Judge John Newson ordered Dahm, currently held in prison, to undergo treatment at the Whiting Forensic Hospital in Middletown for up to 60 days. Dahm will then be reevaluated and is expected to return to court Nov. 9.

Dahm was arrested on Oct. 20, 2022, after he overdosed at the Star Discount Liquor Store at 518 Gold Star Highway. Police said he was found with a backpack containing the two pipe bombs. Police evacuated nearby buildings and called in the state police bomb squad.

Dahm is charged with first-degree criminal mischief, first-degree reckless endangerment and two counts each of illegal manufacture of a bomb, carrying a dangerous weapon and possession of explosives. Dahm also has a dozen pending criminal charges, one connected to his arrest in September 2021, when police say he was found shirtless and uninvited inside an Old Lyme home.

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