SAN JOSE — A former Los Alamos National Laboratory computer expert awaiting trial on hacking charges violated his bond agreement by accessing the Internet, a prosecutor alleged Thursday.
Jerome Heckenkamp, 22, has been in jail since Jan. 18, when he asked that his $50,000 bond be revoked and the money be returned to the friend who posted it. Heckenkamp said he didn’t want the friend to be liable for his actions as he sought to represent himself at trial.
Heckenkamp ultimately decided not to fire his lawyer, and is now seeking to be released on his own recognizance.
But prosecutor Ross Nadel told a federal magistrate Thursday there is evidence Heckenkamp violated his original bond agreement by having more than one computer where he was staying and by using one of them to access the Internet.
Someone also tried to tamper with evidence the computer had been used to surf the Web, Nadel said.
A hearing on the matter is set for Tuesday.
Heckenkamp’s father, Thomas, said the accusations are false. Jerome’s use of a second computer was approved, and the young man did not go on the Internet, the father said. The father said he had used the Internet when he borrowed the computer’s hard drive while Jerome was visiting his family in Pewaukee, Wis., over the holidays.
“They jumped to conclusions,” Thomas Heckenkamp said.
Jerome Heckenkamp was charged last January in San Jose and San Diego with breaking into the networks of eBay, Exodus Communications, Qualcomm, Juniper Networks, ETrade, Lycos and Cygnus Support Solutions and causing more than $1 million in damage. The acts allegedly occurred before he was hired as a network security specialist at the national lab in New Mexico.
Hacking charges each carry five years in federal prison.