Sunday, February 18, 2018
Public safety

Tampa man accused of making explosives to be held until trial

TAMPA — A man arrested last week for making explosives in his parents' home will remain in jail until his trial, a Hillsborough County judge ordered Wednesday.

"It's pretty obvious to me that you are a danger to this community," said Judge Walter Heinrich.

James Lee Minyard, 41, was hospitalized May 7 after an explosive he was carrying detonated and blew off part of two fingers on his left hand. Investigators soon discovered Minyard was making the devices at his home at 1212 E Crawford St., where he lives with his parents.

Minyard was arrested the next day and charged with six counts of making a destructive device.

In a courtroom Wednesday afternoon, Minyard appeared with his left hand layered in bandages.

Tampa police Homicide Detective Steve Prebich testified that he interviewed Minyard after he was released from the hospital. Minyard told him the explosive had gone off as he rode a bicycle on the sidewalk in the 900 block of Sligh Avenue on his way to a friend's house. Minyard lit the explosive, described as a pipe bomb, with a cigarette and intended to throw it into an empty lot, Prebich testified. Instead, it exploded in Minyard's hand.

When Prebich arrived at the scene, he noticed blood splatter on the sidewalk and a second device that Minyard admitted he dropped during the explosion.

The explosives, Minyard told Prebich, were for "recreational purposes."

While searching Minyard's house, investigators recovered four other devices, handwritten notebooks with diagrams and instruction books. Computers seized from Minyard were sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for analysis, Prebich testified.

Sgt. J.B. Seal of Tampa police's bomb team testified that the explosives were made of a compound that is "very sensitive to heat, shock and friction."

Minyard's father, James Minyard, also testified, telling the court that his son never intended to harm anyone. A few years ago, his son had taken to making small firecrackers.

But his hobby, Heinrich pointed out, had escalated.

"Even if your intention was not to go and blow up some other person or building, your sheer disregard to the safety of the community . . . the sheer volume of items you had in your house, concerns the court," Heinrich said.

Minyard's case remains under investigation, Tampa police said, declining to provide further details.

After the judge's decision Wednesday, he stared at the floor as he was escorted from the courtroom.

Laura C. Morel can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3386.

Comments
‘We had this monster living under our roof and we didn’t know.’

‘We had this monster living under our roof and we didn’t know.’

Nikolas Cruz was immature, quirky and depressed when James and Kimberly Snead took him into their Parkland home. But he was pleasant and seemed to be growing happier, they said.How the 19-year-old turned into a man now arrested and charged with 17 co...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Broward program will give small-time offenders a big break

Broward program will give small-time offenders a big break

FORT LAUDERDALE — Pot smokers aren’t the only law breakers able to get a second chance in South Florida. Underage adults buying alcohol, those stealing property worth less than $300 and people nabbed for trespassing, loitering or disorderly conduct a...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Parkland students to march on Florida Capitol to demand changes to gun laws

Parkland students to march on Florida Capitol to demand changes to gun laws

TALLAHASSEEAhundred students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland will travel to Tallahassee for a march on the state Capitol on Wednesday in the first organized protest of their #NeverAgain movement.Their demand: that Florida legisl...
Updated: 3 hours ago
As victims are mourned in Florida, a search for solace, and action

As victims are mourned in Florida, a search for solace, and action

PARKLAND — On the Sunday after Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School lost 17 of its own, a minister in Parkland implored his flock not to let the horrific shootings lead them away from their faith."Our world is broken, but Jesus is not," the Rev. Eddi...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Pinellas Park man tries to stop people breaking into his car, is shot in arm

PINELLAS PARK — A man saw people trying to break into his vehicle and chased them away, before one of the attempted burglars shot him in the arm, police said.Alexander Weaver, 28, was at his home on the 6200 block of 106th Avenue N early Sunday morni...
Updated: 12 hours ago

Deputies: Woman charged with DUI manslaughter hit St. Pete Beach pedestrian

ST. PETE BEACH — Deputies say a driver killed a man walking on a sidewalk and fled the scene before causing a second crash Saturday night.Carolyn Yovan, 51 of St. Pete Beach, now faces felony charges of driving under the influence manslaughter and le...
Published: 02/18/18
Pinellas Sheriff’s Office accuses 14-year-old of copycat Snapchat school threat

Pinellas Sheriff’s Office accuses 14-year-old of copycat Snapchat school threat

PINELLAS PARK — The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office late Saturday said detectives arrested a 14-year-old boy and accused him of posting a threat to a school on his Snapchat account.Edward Charles Osgood, who attends Lealman Innovation Academy, was a...
Published: 02/17/18
Updated: 02/18/18

Man found dead in flaming mobile home

TAMPA — Firefighters found a man dead inside a burned-down mobile home Saturday.Tampa Fire Rescue got a call just after 4:30 p.m. that a single-wide mobile home at the 100 block of East Linebaugh Avenue was in flames.The man’s identity was not releas...
Published: 02/17/18
‘I’m going to watch you bleed’: Nikolas Cruz threatened ex’s new boyfriend, report says

‘I’m going to watch you bleed’: Nikolas Cruz threatened ex’s new boyfriend, report says

Warning: This story quotes graphic material.Before he killed 17 people at a South Florida high school, Nikolas Cruz repeatedly threatened an ex-classmate who had started dating his former girlfriend, according to a report in Buzzfeed News."I’m going ...
Published: 02/17/18

Police find dead man in Tampa apartment

TAMPA — Police found a dead man inside an apartment in the 5200 block of Sonora Court Friday after 3 p.m.Who the man is or how long he’s been dead is not yet clear, police said. The victim appears to have been killed in some sort of "homicidal violen...
Published: 02/17/18