News and Press Releases

Second Defendant Pleads Guilty in DeLand Bombing

September 19, 2011

Orlando, Florida - United States Attorney Robert E. O'Neill announces that Cassondra Marie Rassi (25, DeLand) today pleaded guilty to federal charges of possession of an unregistered firearm (destructive device) and possession of a firearm (destructive device) by a convicted felon. Rassi faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison on each count. Rassi’s mother, Lisa Marie Milligan, already entered a guilty plea to the same charges on August 26, 2011. Another co-defendant, John Jenkins (24, Volusia County), is pending trial in October before Chief United States District Judge Anne C. Conway.

According to the plea agreement, on April 2, 2011, Milligan became angry after she was robbed of $400 in a failed illegal drug transaction. Milligan, Rassi and Jenkins decided to retaliate against the person who had stolen Milligan’s money by building a destructive device and blowing up the victim's car. After Jenkins purchased components and assembled a pipe bomb, Milligan and Rassi drove to the victim's apartment complex, the Mallards of Brandywine, in DeLand. Rassi flattened the tires of the victim’s car. Milligan then placed the pipe bomb into the tailpipe of the automobile, lit the fuse and fled the area. The resulting explosion damaged at least two automobiles and sprayed shrapnel into the
parking lot of the complex.

When arrested by authorities, Milligan admitted to leaving a threatening voice mail message for the victim that he had "signed his death warrant." She also confessed that she had placed the pipe bomb in the car because she had wanted to send a message that she would not be "ripped off" in the future. Rassi likewise confessed that she had assisted her mother in the bombing.

This is another case prosecuted as a part of the Department of Justice’s “Project Safe Neighborhoods” program - a nationwide, gun-violence reduction strategy led by ATF. United States Attorney Robert E. O’Neill, along with Virginia O’Brien, Special Agent in Charge, ATF Tampa Field Division, is coordinating the Project Safe Neighborhoods effort here in the Middle District of Florida in cooperation with federal, state, and local law enforcement officials.

This case was investigated by the Volusia County Sheriff's Office, the State of Florida Fire Marshal's Office, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert E. Bodnar, Jr.


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