SOUTH BEND — Following the seizure of more than 24,080 pieces of child pornography and two explosive devices, a 46-year-old Northwest Indiana man pleaded guilty to the production of child pornography and more, courts say.
Eric R. Weiler, 46, of LaPorte, submitted a guilty plea Tuesday to production of child pornography, possession of child pornography and making a destructive device, U.S. Attorney Thomas L. Kirsch said.
In his plea agreement, Weiler admitted to recording a video of himself molesting an unconscious 5-year-old girl in the spring of 2013, court documents show. The child was living in Weiler's home along with her mother and two young brothers.
“I drugged all of these individuals in order to conduct this assault,” Weiler wrote in the plea.
In August 2017, Weiler assembled a powerful liquid bomb and ran wires into the gas tank of a LaPorte resident's car to the ignition.The car would have blown up from turning the key in the ignition, had Weiler's workmanship not failed, police testified in court.
Nearly a month later, investigators found out that Weiler had been going inside the vacant house next to the person targeted by the explosive.
When investigators stepped inside, they were met with explicit writing on the walls that documented Weiler's attempts to acquire a girl under age 12, ideally a newborn baby, to molest, court documents show.
Two days later, two explosive devices, including one capable of leveling a house, were found in Weiler's home, including an improvised explosive device and a cricket bomb, which is a carbon dioxide explosive, Kirsch said.
During this time, Police evacuated homes near Weiler's residence close to LaPorte High School.
On Sept. 21, 2017, eight computers, dozens of hard drives, four SD cards, two digital cameras, two cellphones and more were taken from Weiler's home, court records state.
Kirsch said they contained 80 videos and more than 24,000 images of child pornography, including videos showing Weiler molesting the 5-year-old child.
Videos also showed Weiler explaining the explosive device he put in the gas tank, court reports said.
However, the plea is yet to be accepted.
Weiler was initially charged in U.S. District Court in South Bend with two counts of production of child pornography, one count of receipt of child pornography, one count of possession of child pornography, one count of making a destructive device in violation of the National Firearms Act and one count of possession of unregistered destructive devices.
He was also previously charged with attempted murder and three counts of child molesting, according to LaPorte Circuit Court records.
The magistrate judge will make a recommendation to the assigned district court judge on whether Weiler's submitted plea should be accepted. Legal representatives will be given two weeks to object to the recommendation. Afterward, the district court judge can accept or reject the plea. From there, a sentencing hearing will be scheduled.
The investigation was a joint effort by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the LaPorte County Prosecutor’s Office, LaPorte Police Department, Michigan City Police Department and the Porter County Sheriff’s Department.