Tampa man now faces federal charge for homemade bombs

Published Aug. 22, 2013

TAMPA — The Tampa man whose homemade pipe bomb blew off two of his fingers, authorities said, now faces a federal charge for his explosive hobby.

James Lee Minyard, 41, was moved Wednesday from Hillsborough County Jail to Pinellas County Jail, records show, where he will be held on a federal charge of knowingly possessing an unregistered destructive device, according to a grand jury indictment.

Minyard was arrested May 8 by Tampa police on several state charges because, police said, he built explosive devices in his home. One of them detonated a day earlier, blowing off two of Minyard's fingers and drawing the attention of police.

In an indictment filed in federal court Aug. 14, a grand jury decided to charge Minyard with the federal crime. Hillsborough State Attorney's Office spokesman Mark Cox said his office dropped the six state charges of making a destructive device against Minyard because, after reviewing the law, federal charges were more appropriate.

Minyard made the explosives for recreational reasons and didn't intend to hurt people, police initially said after his arrest. He admitted to making the bombs, police said, because he never finished school and he wanted to show he could accomplish something challenging.

But he has been held since his arrest in jail without bail, after a judge ruled that Minyard posed a threat to the community.