Ohio man pleads guilty to attacking romantic rival with bomb


BALTIMORE (AP) — An Ohio man who seriously wounded a romantic rival in Maryland by planting a homemade bomb inside a gift-wrapped box on the victim’s front porch has pleaded guilty to federal weapons charges.

Clayton Alexander McCoy, 32, of Chesterland, Ohio, pleaded guilty in Baltimore on Wednesday to transporting explosives with intent to injure and to possession of an unregistered firearm/explosive device in connection with the 2020 explosion at the victim’s home in Carroll County, Maryland. He faces up to 30 years in prison when he’s sentenced.

As part of McCoy’s guilty plea, he admitted building a pipe bomb at his home in Ohio and driving it to the victim’s home, intending to kill the man, U.S. Attorney Erek Barron said in a news release. McCoy knew the victim and his girlfriend through a live action role-playing battle game called Dagorhir, according to court documents.

In October 2020, McCoy expressed romantic feelings for the woman, who informed McCoy that she was in a relationship and did not share McCoy’s romantic feelings, prosecutors said. McCoy then devised a plan to build and deliver a bomb to the woman’s boyfriend with the intent to remove him as a romantic rival, prosecutors said.

Late that month, McCoy drove the bomb made of shrapnel and BB’s to the man’s home and left it inside a gift-wrapped box on the front porch. When the man opened the box, the bomb exploded and seriously wounded him.

The victim spent more than two weeks in the hospital, had to use a walker and underwent multiple surgeries to remove shrapnel from his body, prosecutors said.

Two attorneys with the Office of the Federal Public Defender who represented McCoy did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.