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Leetsdale Man Appears in Court on Weapons, Bomb-Making Charges

Judge agrees to drop two felony counts against Zachary Clifton.

A 25-year-old man waived his right to a preliminary hearing Tuesday before District Judge Robert Ford. 

Zachary Clifton agreed to stand trial on misdemeanor counts of owning prohibited offensive weapons and possession of drug paraphernalia in exchange for having two felony counts dropped. Clifton had been charged with risking a catastrophe and possession of explosive or incendiary materials dropped.

By dropping the felony charges, Clifton will be able to go to Allegheny County Mental Health Court, a specialty court that offers treatment to offenders without putting them into the system. 

Clifton did not speak in court and declined to comment on the case. 

His Pittsburgh attorney, Eric Fischer, also declined comment. 

were called to Clifton's Beech Street apartment July 21 after responding to a call about an attempted drug overdose. 

Once inside, police said they discovered several large knives and a shotgun in plain view. Police obtained a search warrant and found about 100 large knives, Nazi paraphernalia, narcotics, and ingredients used for bomb making.  Police also seized stuffed animals covered in a red substance and notebooks that contained a list of goals involving robbery, torture and murder.

Leetsdale police Chief James Santucci said the FBI and the U.S. Treasury Department's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were notified, but agents decided not to pursue federal charges.

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