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Ohio man pleads guilty to trying to kill romantic rival with gift-wrapped bomb

The bomb was placed in a gift box with a ribbon tied around it and left at the home for a woman’s boyfriend, officials said. The boyfriend was injured.

An Ohio man who tried to kill a woman’s boyfriend with a homemade bomb placed in a gift box pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal charges that carry up to 30 years in prison, prosecutors said.

The victim in the Oct. 30, 2020, explosion at a Maryland home survived, but he spent two weeks in a walker, needed multiple operations and still has shrapnel in his body, the U.S. attorney’s office in Baltimore said.

Clayton Alexander McCoy, 32, pleaded guilty to one count each of transporting explosives with intent to injure and possession of an unregistered firearm/explosive device, prosecutors said.

He was rejected by the victim's girlfriend and then built the homemade bomb and delivered it to the boyfriend’s home in Carroll County to kill him, according to the prosecutor’s office.

A federal public defender listed as representing McCoy did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday night.

The homemade bomb was a pipe filled with shrapnel, such as ball bearings and other pieces of metal, according to court documents.

The bomb was in a gift box with a red ribbon tied around it, and it had been placed inside a cardboard box that was left on the front porch of the victim’s home, officials said. It exploded when it was opened.

The victim opened the box in a bedroom, and no one else was injured in the explosion, according to court documents. The blast caused more than $46,000 in damage, and the victim and his grandparents had to leave the home for months, prosecutors said.

All three knew one another through the Dagorhir live-action role-playing battle game community, according to court documents.

Around two weeks before the explosion, McCoy told the woman he had feelings for her, but she said that she didn’t feel the same way and that she was in a relationship with the victim, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives wrote in a criminal complaint filed in the case.

McCoy drove seven hours to place the bomb at the victim's home, authorities alleged. Carroll County, which is northwest of Baltimore, is around 350 miles' driving distance from McCoy's home in Chesterland, east of Cleveland.

The transporting explosives charge carries a maximum of 20 years, and the possession charge carries up to 10 years, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

A sentencing date has not been set.