Timeline: How probe into alleged bomb-making for southern Ohio militia unfolded

A pair of regional militia members allegedly considered using the same methods as the Boston Marathon bombers to make their explosive devices more lethal, according to a federal indictment.

That was part of an alleged conversation on Jan. 18, 2019 between Ryan D. King, 37, of Franklin, and Randy D. Goodman, 53, of Ripley, Ohio, one of several alleged instances that resulted in a federal grand jury indicting them each on two charges of having unregistered explosives.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio unsealed the indictment on Monday, accusing King and Goodman of violating the National Firearms Act. The indictment said that King and Goodman were members of the United Sheepdogs of Ohio militia group and that there were at least 12 members of this group living throughout the Southern District of Ohio.

The FBI arrested King and Goodman on Monday and made their initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati. Both are being held in the Butler County Jail pending a bond and detention hearing scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.

According to Jennifer Thornton, U.S. Attorney’s Office spokeswoman, possessing an unregistered firearm or destructive device is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Conspiring to do so is a crime that carries a potential maximum sentence of five years in prison.

On Monday morning, Franklin police blocked off a portion of a street as FBI agents searched King’s home in the 700-block of South Main Street, according to Franklin police Chief Russ Whitman.

The indictment said King and Goodman allegedly established a small subset of the militia group and referred to it as the “Special Projects Team.” The defendants advocated that this team construct, use and stockpile explosives they called “crater makers.” The defendants allegedly conspired to possess and possessed destructive devices in violation of the National Firearms Act, specifically, bombs and parts necessary to make pipe bombs, the indictment said.

During an Oct. 12, 2018 trip to the Knob Creek Gun Range-Machine Gun Shoot in West Point, Ky., King allegedly purchased a wire assembly and inert grenades and suggested methods “[i]f we want to get real lethal,” to which Goodman commented would make them an elite group, according to the indictment.

At the Dec. 8, 2018 Sheepdog’s Christmas party at King’s residence in Franklin, King allegedly showed Goodman a collection of parts necessary to make a destructive device, including a steel pipe with end caps, electronic matches, and wireless relays, according to the indictment. Both men allegedly discussed in detail various improvised explosive devices and methods to construct them as well as the ease of placing them under a car seat or car engine wired into the breaking, the indictment said.

Also on that date, King displayed a CO2 cartridge that was equipped with a fuse and green electrical tape that was filled with an unknown substance that was referred to as a “crater maker,” the indictment said.

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On Jan. 5, 2019, King and Goodman allegedly tested their “crater makers” at Goodman’s home in Ripley. They discussed construction and ignition methods in detail. Goodman referenced the Boston Marathon as an example of a remote detonation system that worked.

They also discussed which methods would be most lethal. While there, they allegedly exploded two “crater makers” and King said he would show Goodman how to make them, the indictment said.

On Jan. 18, King allegedly built an improvised initiation system, but Goodman could not ignite the device successfully, the indictment said. King allegedly made a second such device, the indictment said. Before it was detonated, Goodman asked, “Do we know how they built the pressure cookers for the Boston bombers…we are talking the same concept…,” the indictment said.

King added, “If you really want explosions you would bury these in the driveway, so they go up and out. We can build land mines, I’ve already built them before, you know that.”

They also allegedly discussed making pipe bombs using PVC pipe, but King said metal pipe would be more lethal. Goodman said he was thinking about using pressure cookers, the indictment said.

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