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Kevin Edson, Man Charged In Boston Marathon Suspicious Backpack Hoax, Sent For Psychiatric Evaluation

Mother Apologizes For Son's Actions, Says He Has Mental Health Issues & Needs Help

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BOSTON (CBSNewYork/AP) — The man arrested near the Boston Marathon finish line carrying a backpack containing a rice cooker on the anniversary of the bombings has been sent to a state psychiatric facility for an evaluation.

Kevin “Kayvon” Edson had a court appearance Wednesday on charges of threatening battery, possession of a hoax explosive device, threats to commit a crime, disturbing the peace, disturbing a public assembly and disorderly conduct.

He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in Boston Municipal Court, CBS Boston reported.

The 25-year-old Wakefield resident, who once lived and studied in New York City, was sent to Bridgewater State Hospital and held on $100,000 bail. His lawyer did not comment outside of court.

Kevin Edson in Boston Municipal Court on April 16, 2014. (credit: WBZ-TV/CBSBoston.com)

Kevin Edson in Boston Municipal Court on April 16, 2014. (credit: WBZ-TV/CBSBoston.com)

Edson was stopped late Tuesday in Boston by an officer who saw him acting suspiciously, walking barefoot down the middle of a street, veiled in black, in pouring rain, police Superintendent Randall Halstead said.

Witnesses said he was screaming “Boston Strong” as he walked down the street, CBS Boston reported.

Edson then dropped a backpack and told the officer it contained a rice cooker, Boston police said. The backpack was destroyed. A source told CBS News that the rice cooker was full of confetti.

The incident took place hours after ceremonies to mark last year’s Boston Marathon bombings, in which two pressure cooker bombs hidden in backpacks exploded, killing three people near the finish line and injuring more than 260 others.

Prosecutors said when Edson was arrested, he told police, “I knew what I was doing, it was conceived in my head. It’s symbolism, come on. The performance got the best of me.”

As CBS 2’s Dick Brennan reported, Edson’s mugshot shows blue and yellow paint on his face, the remnants of the colors he wore, the colors of the marathon.

“Your honor does not need me to tell you the symbolism of a rice cooker on the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings,” said Assistant District Attorney Susan Terrey. “Taken the totality of the circumstances, we do believe $100,000 is an appropriate bail for this situation.”

His family apologized for his actions and issued a statement Wednesday.

“Our family is so sorry and emotionally overwhelmed by the events at the finish line of the Boston Marathon yesterday. To have this happen on the one year anniversary of such a horrific crime is unfathomable. Our son Kevin has been battling mental issues for several years. His illness has caused himself and our family years of anguish that is unimaginable. We wish the runners of the Boston Marathon on Patriots Day a wonderful and celebratory day. Run Strong and enjoy your wonderful feeling as you cross that finish line.”

Edson’s Facebook page says he studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan and lived in Brooklyn for several years.

FIT said Edson was not a student at the school, but did take one class in 2010. The New School confirmed to CBS 2 that Edson attended the school from 2008 to 2010, but did not graduate.

Edson’s Facebook page also prominently features pictures of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and even uses Tsarnaev’s image as his profile page cover photo.

According to New York Magazine, Edson also has a blog called Natural Selection, which was updated on Tuesday with images of Tsarnaev and a post titled “#SexyBomber.”

An altered image of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev posted to the blog Natural Selection. (Original image: Sean McCabe/Rolling Stone/Altered by: naturalselection.net)

An altered image of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev posted to the blog Natural Selection. (Original image: Sean McCabe/Rolling Stone/Altered by: naturalselection.net)

“Happy Anniversary, babe! Next time, I’ll cry a river for our love boat,” the post says.

In the “about” section of the blog, Edson describes himself as a “totes quirkster,” “fashion designer” and “wannabe entrepreneur.”

He has also posted videos of himself on YouTube.

“Wondering when it was that my mind went awry,” Edson said in one video. “Two weeks after attending Parsons School of Design, I was diagnosed bipolar.”

Edson’s mother Joie Edson said her son has bipolar disorder and that his mental health had deteriorated recently. She said she has two sons who struggle with mental illness and criticized the healthcare system.

“Boston is certainly, in many ways, a strong city. The first responders, the runners, the sports teams, the medical community and the citizens are all Boston Strong. What is NOT strong is the mental health system in Boston, our state, our country, and the world. I have two sons who struggle with mental illness and I have had to constantly fight for twelve years to get them the help they need. Advocating for assistance from mental health providers for my sons has been a full-time job.”

As CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, a psychologist said in court that for the past six years, her client has suffered from mental illness and may have been off his medications.

“He does need some assistance to stabilize himself mentally,” said defense attorney Shannon Lopez. “However, this gentleman is not a threat.”

CBS Boston said his brother TJ Edson posted a message on Facebook calling the alleged actions of his brother “absurd and shameful” and said it “should not be considered art or condoned in any way.”

Kevin Edson mugshot

Kevin Edson mugshot

“My family has done all we can to foster Kevin’s mental health,” he said. “He is an artist. I am an artist. I understand that much. Thank you God that he did not hurt anybody.”

A second suspicious backpack was determined to have been left behind by a media outlet and was not a danger.

Survivors, first responders and relatives of those killed last year marked the one-year anniversary with a day with tributes.

PHOTOS: Boston Marathon Bombing: 1 Year Later

Former Mayor Thomas Menino and Vice President Joe Biden were among those who spoke at the nearby Hynes Convention Center. A moment of silence was held at the finish line in the afternoon.

Meanwhile, Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to a 30-count federal indictment charging him in the twin explosion.

Prosecutors say Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan, built the two pressure-cooker bombs and placed them near the finish line. Tamerlan Tsarnaev died following a shootout with police.

Tsarnaev’s lawyers are headed to court Wednesday to ask a judge to dismiss some of the charges against him and to ease restrictions on him in prison.

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