Ohio medieval battle role player pleads guilty to transporting bomb in a plot to kill love rival

Medieval battle role-player, 32, pleads guilty to trying to blow up his love rival with a pipe bomb wrapped in a ‘white gift box with a red ribbon around it’ rigged to go off when opened

  •  A 32-year-old man from Ohio has pleaded guilty to transporting explosives with intent to injure, the Justice Department has announced 
  • Clayton Alexander McCoy of Chesterland, Ohio, admitted to building a bomb in Ohio and driving to Maryland to give it to the boyfriend of a woman he liked
  • McCoy had told the woman that he had feelings for her, but she turned down his advance, telling the Ohio man that she had a boyfriend 
  • The 32-year-old concealed the bomb inside a white gift box wrapped with a red ribbon, according to DOJ officials 
  • He faces a maximum of 20-years in prison for transporting an explosive device 

A 32-year-old man has pleaded guilty to charges related to the transport of an explosive device in a plot to kill the partner of a woman he liked. 

According to a release from the United States Department of Justice, Clayton Alexander McCoy of Chesterland, Ohio, pleaded guilty to building a bomb in Ohio and then driving it to Maryland where he intended for it to detonate. 

He placed the device inside of a white gift box and tied it with a red ribbon to make it look like a present, officials said. The bomb was rigged to go off once the package was opened. 

The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron Wednesday alongside investigators in the case, including multiple agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. 

Clayton Alexander McCoy was arrested in 2020 after building a bomb inside his Ohio home and then driving more than 300 miles to Manchester, Maryland, where the victim lived

Clayton Alexander McCoy was arrested in 2020 after building a bomb inside his Ohio home and then driving more than 300 miles to Manchester, Maryland, where the victim lived 

McCoy had met the victim through his hobby in which individuals dress up in medieval garb and live action role play battles

McCoy had met the victim through his hobby in which individuals dress up in medieval garb and live action role play battles

This is the home where McCoy drove his make shift bomb to in Manchester, Maryland

This is the home where McCoy drove his make shift bomb to in Manchester, Maryland 

Authorities said that McCoy had made advances on the woman who he met through his hobby as medieval battle role playing events. 

In October of 2020, the man confessed his feeling to the victim, whose name has not been released. 

She told him that she was in a committed relationship and not interested in him romantically, DOJ officials said. 

While McCoy was more familiar with the woman he had the feelings for, he did also know the man ‘for a number of years’ through the role playing group. 

McCoy, pictured, participates in Dagorhir role-playing which uses foam weapons to participate in medieval combat

McCoy, pictured, participates in Dagorhir role-playing which uses foam weapons to participate in medieval combat

Clayton Alexander McCoy, 30, is pictured in medieval chainmail and armor to participate in Dagorhir role-playing

Clayton Alexander McCoy, 30, is pictured in medieval chainmail and armor to participate in Dagorhir role-playing

After she rejected him, the Ohio man decided that he would kill the competition, opening a path for him to begin a relationship with the woman. 

McCoy researched the materials needed to build the explosive device and then paid in cash at a multitude of stores, being sure to not alert authorities to his intentions.  

He made shrapnel by cutting up small pieces of metal using an angle grinder and then inserting them into the metal pipe ‘to increase the deadliness.’ 

Using his mom’s truck, McCoy drove over 300 miles, making the six hour journey to Maryland, to deliver his handmade detonation device.  

He delivered the package to the Carroll County, Maryland, address on October 30, 2020, in a larger box with a shipping label and no return address. 

A truck belonging to McCoy's mother was caught on a Nest camera near the home he allegedly bombed

A truck belonging to McCoy’s mother was caught on a Nest camera near the home he allegedly bombed

A sign shows that the building is unsafe after the pipe bomb went off at a Maryland home. The home was left uninhabitable for months and the bomb caused nearly $50K in damage

A sign shows that the building is unsafe after the pipe bomb went off at a Maryland home. The home was left uninhabitable for months and the bomb caused nearly $50K in damage

A truck belonging to McCoy's mother was pinged along the way from Ohio to the Maryland home and authorities alleged he planned the route to avoid toll booths

A truck belonging to McCoy’s mother was pinged along the way from Ohio to the Maryland home and authorities alleged he planned the route to avoid toll booths

The bomb was dropped off on the porch just before 8.30am and was brought inside by the victim’s grandfather. Upon the victim’s arrival at the home later in the day, he opened it and discovered the smaller package inside. 

Before unwrapping the white box, the man texted his girlfriend to ask if she sent him anything. He took the boxes to his room to open it in private. 

The bomb detonated upon opening, as McCoy had intended, officials said. 

The victim was struck by the shrapnel and sustained injuries to ‘his chest, legs, and front of his body’ and was taken to the hospital for his injuries. 

After two weeks, the man was released from the hospital following numerous surgeries to remove the shrapnel and repair damage to his hand. 

He also was forced to use a walker for multiple weeks after the incident due to the severity of his injuries. 

The damage caused to the home cost an estimated $46,000 in damages and made the residence ‘uninhabitable’ for months. The victim and his grandparents were forced to live elsewhere while repairs were made. 

Police and EMS officials respond to the scene where the victim was hurt by a pipe bomb left at a home he shared with his grandparents

Police and EMS officials respond to the scene where the victim was hurt by a pipe bomb left at a home he shared with his grandparents

The home in Maryland was badly damaged by the explosion of the bomb. The victim and his grandparents were forced to find housing elsewhere for several months

The home in Maryland was badly damaged by the explosion of the bomb. The victim and his grandparents were forced to find housing elsewhere for several months

After the incident, the girlfriend of the victim, identified as ‘S.B.’ was interviewed and asked if she had any idea on who may have done it. She told officers that she had known McCoy for several years through the role-playing group. 

The members of the Dagorhir group would meet online before meeting up in person to play out elaborate medieval scenes and battles.   

Further investigations into the Dagorhir group uncovered that McCoy would often communicate with the victim and his girlfriend through an online chat service called Discord. 

In March 2021, investigators searched McCoy’s Chesterland, Ohio, home and found items, including explosive powder, inside the residence. 

The Ohio man initially admitted to knowing the victim but denied knowing where he lived. 

At one point while speaking with the investigators, McCoy offered up another person from the live-action role playing group as a potential suspect. 

McCoy told officers that the man he pointed the finger at ‘did not like’ the victim. 

Only after law enforcement showed McCoy maps of his movements did he admit to making and delivering the bomb. 

McCoy face sup to of 20 years in federal prison for transporting explosives with intent to injure and a maximum of 10 years in prison for possession of an unregistered firearm/explosive device. 

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