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Press Release

Wake County Man Convicted of 1995 Bombing at BTI Building Resentenced to More Than 37 Years in Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of North Carolina

NEW BERN, N.C. – Stephan Bullis, the man convicted in the July 1995 bombing at the then Business Telecom, Inc. (BTI) building located in North Raleigh, was resentenced on Friday to 450 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release. Today’s sentence will keep him in prison for an additional 10 years. Bullis, now 58, was originally convicted of six charges related to the incident following a jury trial in February 1996. At the time, he was sentenced to a mandatory life sentence, followed by consecutive terms of 30 years and 235 months. Due to changes in the law, two charges were vacated in September 2022, leaving only the 235-month sentence standing. At that time, the Court set the matter for resentencing.

“Stephan Bullis caused terror in the Raleigh community because the pipe bomb at BTI came only a few short months after the Oklahoma City bombing and at a time when the infamous ‘Unabomber’ was at large,” said U.S. Attorney Michael Easley. “At the original sentencing, the Judge noted the heinous nature of the crime, the number of victims and potential victims, as well as the defendant’s lack of remorse. The defendant knowingly risked harm to countless individuals and inflicted psychological trauma on numerous others. This new sentence holds Bullis accountable for his horrific actions and keeps him behind bars where he belongs.”

According to court documents and other information presented in court, Bullis mailed two pipe bombs on or around Friday, July 7, 1995. The first package, addressed to his then wife – an employee of BTI, detonated when she opened it on Monday, July 10, 1995. The explosion destroyed most of his wife’s left hand, a portion of her upper right arm and caused numerous cuts, burns and bruises across her body. The bomb also injured a nearby colleague. The second bomb was found in an out-of-service United States Postal Service Collection bin located at Crabtree Valley Mall on July 25, 1995. The second bomb was found 10 days after the arrest of Bullis, who did nothing to warn authorities of the second pipe bomb package even though it was in a public space where an explosion had the potential to injure numerous individuals.

Evidence presented at trial showed that Mr. Bullis had begun an affair with a clerk at a video rental store and had recently increased the payout on his wife’s life insurance policy. In the months before the bombing, he began purchasing books such as “The Poor Man’s James Bond” and “The Anarchist Cookbook,” which both include designs and instructions for making explosive devices. In the month immediately before the attack, Bullis learned that his wife’s company had increased her work-funded life insurance policy and included a double-indemnity clause in the event of an accidental death. Statements made by Bullis indicated that he believed the accidental death needed to occur while his wife was at work for the double indemnity clause to apply.

Several victims of the bombing incident, including the defendant’s former wife and co-workers who were present, spoke or provided statements at the resentencing recounting the physical and psychological impacts of the crime that they experience to this day. As one victim impact statement said, “He acted with total disregard for all the people that would forever be affected by this crime…”

Bullis was convicted of six counts including two counts of mailing a pipe bomb with intent to kill another, one count of arson resulting in injury to another person, one count of attempted arson and two counts of use of a destructive device during a crime of violence. Bullis’ conviction has been upheld by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the case.

Michael Easley, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Louise W. Flanagan. The United States Postal Inspection Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives (ATF), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Raleigh Police Department originally investigated the case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Dennis Duffy and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Casey Peaden handled the resentencing.

Related court documents and information can be found on the website of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina or on PACER by searching for Case No. 5:95-CR-00142-FL.

Updated February 27, 2023

Violent Crime