CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - Victims of mailbox pipe bombs continue to cope with their emotional and physical injuries a year after a Minnesota man was arrested and accused of planting the bombs.
Delores Werling, 71, of Tipton, said her hearing is about 50 percent of what it used to be.
Scars left from injuries from flying shrapnel that struck her hands and face are barely visible.
"There's a faint scar on my forehead," she said. "You really have to look to see it. Same with the lip."
Other than that, Werling said her life is back to normal. That means she's at work in her garden.
"It will never be back to normal," said Doris Zimmerman, 64, of rural Anamosa, of her life since she was injured May 3, 2002. "I'd rather not discuss it with anybody."
People are also reading…
The force of the explosion as Zimmerman opened her mailbox blew her across the road and injured both her hands, a leg, her hips and chest.
Luke Helder, 21, of Pine Island, Minn., and former University of Wisconsin-Stout student, is undergoing a second round of psychological testing at the Federal Medical Facility in Rochester, Minn.
Helder's attorney, Assistant U.S. Public Defender Jane Kelly, has given notice that she plans to use an insanity defense if Helder goes to trial.
He is accused of placing 18 pipe bombs and anti-government letters in mailboxes in six states, including Iowa, in May 2002. Investigators believe Helder began planting the bombs in mailboxes in Illinois, then moved across Iowa and into Nebraska before heading into Colorado and Texas. He was arrested without incident May 7 near Reno, Nev., and returned May 10 to Cedar Rapids. He was held in federal custody in the Linn County Jail before his transfer to Rochester.
Helder pleaded innocent in U.S. District Court to charges of using an explosive device to maliciously destroy property used in interstate commerce and using a firearm to commit a crime of violence. He faces up to life in prison if convicted.
No trial date will be set until after the current round of psychological testing is completed, according to U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett.
Zimmerman and Werling were among six people injured by the pipe bombs. A third Iowan, rural letter carrier Ken Dolphin of Dubuque, is back to his job of 23 years - delivering the mail to rural Iowans in the Sageville area.
Werling said she sometimes thinks of Helder's parents and how difficult it must be for them. And she wonders about Helder.
"You wonder sometimes what is this Luke person was thinking," she said. "I just feel that, `Oh my, he definitely needs help."'
If there is a trial, Werling said she and her husband will attend. "I'm pretty sure we'll go," she said.