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Press Release

Pikeville Man Charged with Possessing Explosive Device After Device Failed to Detonate Car

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Tennessee
Explosive Device Had Been Planted in Car at Franklin, Tennessee Assisted Living Facility

Mitchell Oakes, 41, of Pikeville, Tenn., was charged Saturday with possessing an explosive device and being a convicted felon in possession of an explosive device, announced David Rivera, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee.

Oakes was charged in a federal criminal complaint, after a live explosive device was found Saturday, attached to a vehicle parked at the National Healthcare Corporation (NHC), Cool Springs facility in Franklin, Tenn.

“As with so many cases in this district, anytime an incident requires a coordinated response by local, state and federal law enforcement, our law enforcement partners come together and bring a rapid conclusion to an incident which ensures the safety and security of our communities,” said U.S. Attorney David Rivera. “I commend the agencies involved here for their cooperation and swift action in identifying and arresting the offender.”

According to the complaint, a nurse at the facility arrived at her car in the parking lot, after ending her shift at 7:00 a.m. on Saturday. When she opened the car door, she discovered a device attached to the inside of the driver’s door. She noticed the device had wires attached to it and immediately believed it to be an explosive device.

Subsequent investigation by local, state and federal law enforcement, determined the device was in fact a live explosive. Law enforcement explosive specialists moved the device to a safe area, where it exploded during an attempt to render the device safe. 

Further investigation by law enforcement officials determined that the apparent intended victim was estranged from her husband, Mitchell Oakes, and had obtained an Order of Protection against him on June 10, 2016, in Chesapeake City, Virginia. She also told law enforcement officials that Oakes had extensive knowledge and experience in manufacturing and using explosive materials and that she had received a threatening phone call from him earlier in the week.

Law enforcement officials were able to analyze the cell phone GPS data of Oakes’ phone and determined that the phone travelled from the Pikeville, Tenn. area to the immediate area of the NHC facility in Franklin, Tenn. and returned to the Pikeville area during the time period surrounding the incident. 

According to the complaint, in January 2007, Mitchell Oakes was previously convicted of solicitation to commit second degree murder in Cumberland County, Tenn. and had been sentenced to four years in prison. Oakes was also convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm in Bledsoe County, Tenn. in 2014.

If convicted of these offenses, Oakes faces up to 10 years in prison on each charge.

A criminal complaint is merely an accusation and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law. 

This case is being investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives; the FBI; the Tennessee Highway Patrol; the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Franklin Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Van Vincent is prosecuting the case.

Updated September 12, 2016

Violent Crime