Man who pleaded guilty to bombing property sentenced to 90 days He says he meant no harm by blasts

August 30, 1992|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Staff Writer

A 19-year-old Columbia man who blew up a front porch, a car and a mailbox using homemade pipe bombs, was sentenced last week to 90 days in jail by a Howard County Circuit Judge.

Gregory H. DeGrafft, of the 9300 block of Wild Bees Lane -- who pleaded guilty in June to dynamiting property with explosives, possession of a pipe bomb and malicious destruction of property -- told Judge Dennis M. Sweeney that he and his friends never intended to hurt anyone in the bombings.

"All we were trying to do was make a loud pop noise," DeGrafft said. "We didn't want to do all that damage."

By sentencing DeGrafft to jail, Judge Sweeney deviated from a plea agreement that had been recommended by the state.

The agreement called for a 20-year suspended sentence with no jail time, five years of supervised probation and payment of restitution totaling $5,061 to the victims.

Judge Sweeney said he imposed the jail sentence out of concern that the bombings occurred 10 days after DeGrafft had received probation for a driving while intoxicated case in juvenile court.

"A few days after you're placed on probation you're out there bombing people's homes," he said.

Judge Sweeney gave DeGrafft the option of serving 90 days at the Howard County Detention Center or 180 days in a home detention program.

The plea agreement also calls for random monthly urinalysis,200 hours of community service and attendance at Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous meetings twice weekly for three years.

DeGrafft's lawyer, Thomas McCarty, said that his client had a long-standing alcohol and drug problem, which played a role in his participation in the bombings.

DeGrafft and another Columbia teen-ager were arrested last January in connection with a series of explosions earlier that month.

When police searched DeGrafft's bedroom, they found chemicals used to make explosives, gunpowder, fuses and directions on how to make a bomb, police said.

DeGrafft admitted to detonating a bomb in the parking lot of the Palace 9 theater complex in Columbia, blowing up a car in the 5700 block of Yellow Rose Court, blowing up a mailbox and exploding a bomb under a front porch of a home in the 5500 block of Foxtail Lane in Ellicott City.

DeGrafft told Judge Sweeney that he and his friend decided to bomb the front porch because his friend didn't like a boy who lived there. They blew up the mailbox because "there was a fellow there that none of us really liked," DeGrafft said.

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