U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
Eastern District of Michigan
Eastern District of Michigan
For Immediate Release
November 29, 2012
Barbara L. McQuade, United States Attorney
Contact: Gina Balaya
Trenton Man Convicted on Explosive and Other Related Charges
A Trenton, Michigan, resident was found guilty yesterday by a federal jury in Ann Arbor of possessing and manufacturing a destructive device, United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced. McQuade was joined in the announcement by David McCain, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
John Robert Kennedy, 42, was found guilty after a three-week trial before U.S. District Judge John Corbett O'Meara. Kennedy was charged in an indictment with Felon in Possession of Explosives, Possession of an Unregistered Destructive Device, Felon in Possession of a Destructive Device, Manufacture of a Destructive Device, and Felon in Possession of Ammunition. Just prior to trial, he pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of explosives and ammunition.
The evidence presented during the trial showed that on April 28, 2011, Kennedy, disguising his voice in a Middle Eastern accent, telephoned a bomb threat to Trenton High School. Kennedy threatened that four bombs would be detonated in the school within the hour. The school was evacuated and searched. Later that evening, a device was found in the parking lot area of the school by a teacher.
On April 29, 2011, Kennedy detonated another device in the parking lot of an ACO hardware store in Trenton, Michigan. Witnesses described an explosion with clouds of white smoke. Remnants of a destructive device were found and were determined by forensic experts to contain explosive materials. Kennedy was identified as the suspect who placed the devices through the use of a Crimestoppers announcement on local television. Kennedy was previously convicted of similar criminal charges involving explosives.
ATF Special Agent in Charge David L. McCain said,
As we have seen in the past explosive devices are dangerous and insidious weapons. I am very pleased that Mr. Kennedy will serve a great deal of time in prison for committing crimes that targeted students at Trenton High School and the Trenton community. Threats of violence and attempts to intimidate and harm our citizens will not be tolerated. I would like to thank the Trenton Police Department the Wayne County Airport Bomb Squad and Michigan State Police Bomb Squad for their valuable contributions and assistance in this investigation.
This defendant put high school students and other members of the public in danger by placing explosives in parking lots," McQuade said. "We hope that this prosecution will deter anyone with similar ideas.
The criminal charges are all felony offenses and carry a maximum sentence of ten years' imprisonment and a $250,000 fine, or both. Sentencing of Kennedy is scheduled for March 5, 2013.
The case was investigated by agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Susan E. Gillooly.