The 66-year-old Montecito man who allegedly threatened to blow up his residence after a five-hour standoff with authorities earlier this month appeared in court this week for a bail-reduction hearing. Jeweler and longtime resident David Tallman will remain in County Jail on a $250,000 bail, Judge James Voysey ordered on Monday.
“As I look at you right now, I don’t see you as a danger to anyone,” said Voysey. And though he called Tallman an “upstanding member” of society, Voysey said the incident was “so scary” and cited public safety as a reason to keep Tallman behind bars on bail set at a quarter of a million dollars.
In an “earnest argument,” public defender Mark Owens contended that Tallman’s action was an “anomaly” and that Tallman does not have a history of mental-health issues. On the night of the incident, Tallman relapsed after being sober for 25 years, Owens said, and his client’s drinking issue could be addressed through programs rather than incarceration. Also, several supporters — some were in court Monday — would be able to house Tallman for the time being, Owens added.
But the magnitude of the threats and the risks posed in the middle of the night warrant the bail amount, said prosecutor Mary Barron. “This was so extraordinary,” she added and contended Tallman threatened to level parts of Montecito. “[And] it was not just threats,” Barron went on, claiming there are photos of damage from a fire that had ignited inside his home.
Around 3 a.m. on July 7, Tallman called 9-1-1 and told a dispatcher he was going to blow up his house with highly flammable acetylene tanks, according to a press release from the Sheriff’s Office. A slew of law enforcement, fire, and medical personnel responded, 138 reverse 9-1-1 calls were sent out, nearby residents evacuated to All Saints-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church, and access to the freeway was shut down. By 8 a.m. the next morning, Tallman was negotiated out of the residence and arrested. Fire officials extinguished the small fire approximately half an hour later.
Tallman will return to court next Thursday. He is charged with arson, criminal threats, and resisting an executive officer. He could face up to nine years and four months in prison.