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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Maryland
Erek L. Barron, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Ohio Man Sentenced to Almost 22 Years in Federal Prison for Driving a Bomb to Carroll County, Maryland With the Intent To Kill a Romantic Rival

Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Stephanie A. Gallagher today sentenced Clayton Alexander McCoy, age 32, of Chesterland, Ohio, to 262 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for transporting explosives with intent to injure and to possession of an unregistered firearm/explosive device, in connection with an explosion at a home in Carroll County, Maryland. A resident of the home was the boyfriend of a woman in whom McCoy had a romantic interest. Judge Gallagher also ordered that McCoy pay restitution in the full amount of the loss, which is at least $96,378.38.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Special Agent in Charge Toni M. Crosby of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Baltimore Field Division; Maryland State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci; Carroll County Sheriff James T. DeWees; and Carroll County State’s Attorney Haven Shoemaker.

According to his guilty plea and court documents, McCoy built a bomb in his home in Ohio, then drove the bomb to Victim 1’s home in Carroll County, Maryland, intending to kill the victim. McCoy knew the victim and a woman, who was Victim 1’s girlfriend, for a number of years through a live action role-playing battle game/social club. In October 2020 McCoy expressed romantic feelings for the woman, who informed McCoy that she was in a relationship with Victim 1 and did not share McCoy’s romantic feelings.

Following his rejection by Victim 1’s girlfriend, McCoy devised a plan to build and deliver a bomb to Victim 1’s house with the intent to kill Victim 1. McCoy made shrapnel for the inside of the bomb, cutting scrap metal into small, triangular pieces, to increase the deadliness of the pipe bomb when it exploded. McCoy placed the homemade bomb into a white gift box, tied a red ribbon around the box, and armed the firing mechanism so that the bomb would explode when the gift box was opened. McCoy placed the gift box containing the bomb into a larger cardboard box with a shipping label, but no return address.

On October 30, 2020, McCoy drove approximately seven hours from Ohio to Victim 1’s residence and placed the bomb on Victim 1’s front porch just prior to 8:30 a.m. Victim 1’s grandfather saw the package, brought it inside the house and put it on the kitchen counter, where it remained until Victim 1’s return. That afternoon, Victim 1 returned home and saw the cardboard box that was addressed to him. He opened the cardboard box and saw the white gift box inside. Victim 1 texted his girlfriend to ask her if she had sent him a present, then took both boxes into his bedroom to open his “gift” in private. As Victim 1 opened the gift box, the bomb detonated. Victim 1 was struck in the front of his body by shrapnel and sustained injuries to his chest, legs, and front of his body. After being released from the hospital Victim 1 had to use a walker and underwent multiple surgeries. Multiple pieces of shrapnel remain inside Victim 1’s body. The explosion at Victim 1’s residence caused extensive damage to the dwelling and contents, forcing Victim 1 and his grandparents to live elsewhere. The insurance company suffered a loss of $70,061.26 as a direct result of the explosion.

“This case is an excellent example of local, state and federal law enforcement coming together and bringing Mr. McCoy to justice,” said Carroll County Sheriff James DeWees.

United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the ATF, the Office of the Maryland State Fire Marshal, the Carroll County Sheriff’s Department, and the Carroll County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation. Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul E. Budlow, who prosecuted the case.

For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit and


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