An upstate New York man who blew his leg off in his garage making improvised explosive devices will be held in federal custody without bail because law enforcement found white supremacist paraphernalia and believe he’s dangerous, WGRZ reports.
Michael O’Neill, 45, a former Niagara County corrections officer, is accused of making seven bombs and was arrested two weeks ago after one of the devices accidentally went off. O’Neill was rushed to a hospital where his leg had to be amputated. He was the only one injured, WGRZ reports.
“Luckily, he is detained,” Assistant U.S. Attorney John Alsup told Time Warner Cable News. “He is no longer at large in the community with or without some of the physical disabilities he’s going to have going forward, but luckily for the community, he only hurt himself.”
Pictures of the KKK, Nazi imagery and the Confederate flag were found inside his home, which he lives in with his stepfather, William Ross, who chairs the Niagara County Legislature, WGRZ reports.
Even with his leg now missing, prosecutors believed it would be too risky for the public if O’Neill was released from custody.
The explosives he created contained nails and BB pellets, according to reports. One was labeled “powder with nails.”
His attorney said O’Neill was just planning to blow up some tree stumps.
“The fact that there were some items that we described in court as consistent with, white supremacists, to include the Ku Klux Klan, and the Nazi imagery, some of the verbiage which was particularly on the Nazi picture, also the Confederate battle flag, means that law enforcement has more work to go,” U.S. Attorney William Hochul told TWC News.
O’Neill will remain in the custody of the U.S. Marshalls while he recuperates, then will be transferred to a detention facility.
After the explosion, a neighbor told local WKBW that O’Neill spend hours on end
“We only know that we see him at night, in the middle of the night, all hours of the night, all seasons, just out in the garage, out in the back yard,” the neighbor told the station.
Ross told reporter he didn’t know what O’Neill was doing and if he did, he would have alerted authorities.