TRENTON (WWJ) – A Downriver man convicted of illegally possessing explosives has been sentenced to nine years in prison in a case that began with threats at Trenton High School.
U.S. District Judge John Corbett O’Meara handed down the sentence Thursday against 43-year-old John Robert Kennedy, who was also ordered to pay a $20,000 fine.
Kennedy was convicted following a three-week jury trial on charges of possession of a destructive device, felon in possession of a destructive device, and manufacture of a destructive device. Prior to trial, he pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of ammunition and explosives.
Kennedy wasn’t charged with crimes in connection with the 2011 Trenton High School incident, but prosecutors were able to mention it in court as similar conduct.
Evidence presented at trial showed that on April 28, 2011, Kennedy phoned in a bomb threat to Trenton High School, disguising his voice in a foreign accent. Authorities say Kennedy threatened that four bombs would be detonated in the school within the hour. The school was evacuated and searched and later that evening, a device loaded with sugar was found in the school’s parking lot by a teacher.
The following day, investigators say Kennedy detonated another device in the parking lot of an ACO hardware store in Trenton. Witnesses described an explosion with clouds of white smoke. Remnants of a destructive device were found and were determined by forensic experts to contain explosive materials.
Police say Kennedy was identified through a tip called into Crime Stoppers.
Kennedy, who was previously convicted of similar criminal charges involving explosives, has been in custody since his indictment in July 2011.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Susan Gillooly with the assistance of ATF, Detroit Field Division and the Trenton Police Department.