published Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

Georgia woman pleads guilty to making pipe bombs

By KATE BRUMBACK

Associated Press

GAINESVILLE, Ga. — A north Georgia woman who said she knew it was wrong to make explosive devices but did it anyway because it was her passion pleaded guilty Tuesday to making and possessing two pipe bombs.

Celia Savage, 24, entered her plea in federal court after reaching an agreement with prosecutors. She will be sentenced at a later date.

Federal agents raided Savage’s home in May 2012 and found two pipe bombs and a number of guns, as well as illegal drug paraphernalia and suspected marijuana, suspected methamphetamine and numerous pills, according to court documents. She told agents she had used marijuana the day before and had used methamphetamine two months before.

When federal agents asked her what there is to do in the part of north Georgia where she lives, she said, “Blow things up,” according to a sworn statement by a federal agent.

Savage told agents she had made between five and seven pipe bombs of various sizes and a “cherry bomb,” which she described as a tennis ball containing gun powder, according to the statement from a Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent. She told the agents she knew it was wrong or against the law to make the devices, but said it was her hobby and that she was passionate about it.

During the hearing Tuesday, she began to tell U.S. District Judge Richard Story that even though she knew building the pipe bombs was wrong, she had no malicious intent toward anyone. Story told her she would have the opportunity to explain at her sentencing hearing.

Savage and her lawyers declined to comment after Tuesday’s hearing.

She has been out on bond for about a year. The conditions of her release required her to live with her grandparents and to be confined to their home except for work, medical treatment or court appearances. But the judge last week agreed to lift the home detention condition, instead imposing a curfew from 1 a.m. to 8 a.m. each day to accommodate her work schedule.

The two charges against her each carry a potential penalty of up to 10 years in prison, supervised release of three years and a maximum fine of $250,000, prosecutor William McKinnon told the judge.

McKinnon said after the hearing that prosecutors are recommending Savage serve between 46 and 57 months in prison. The judge is not bound by the plea agreement reached between Savage and prosecutors.

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