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Press Release

Ohio Man Pleads Guilty to Oneida County Bombing

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of New York

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – Keith Seppi, age 58, of Conneaut, Ohio, pled guilty today to using a destructive device during and in relation to a crime of violence and possessing a destructive device in furtherance of a crime of violence.

The announcement was made by United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian and Ashan M. Benedict, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), New York Field Division.  

Sentencing is scheduled in U.S. District Court on July 5, 2017 at 10:30 a.m. before United States District Judge Brenda K. Sannes.   According to the terms of the plea agreement, Seppi will be sentenced to at least 30 years of imprisonment. 

As part of his guilty plea, Seppi admitted that he built a bomb at his Ohio home that would be activated by motion and disguised it to look like a standard parcel package.  He admitted that he brought the bomb from Ohio to Floyd, Oneida County, New York, where he put it in the victim’s driveway around midnight on May 28, 2016, intending that it would explode when it was moved.  The next morning, the victim attempted to pick up the package and the bomb exploded, causing severe injuries and burns.  The victim survived but was hospitalized for several weeks.

In his plea agreement, Seppi also admitted that in May 2016, and prior to the bombing, he had learned that the victim, Alan Dobransky, had accused Seppi’s sister-in-law of stealing money from Dobransky’s mother and had threatened to report the alleged thefts to law enforcement authorities in Ohio.  Dobransky’s mother had been living with and cared for by that sister-in-law in her Conneaut, Ohio, residence.  Shortly after learning of the theft accusations against his sister-in-law, and the threat to report the alleged thefts to local law enforcement authorities in Ohio, Seppi constructed the bomb and later planted it in Dobransky’s driveway in New York. 

United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian stated: "The defendant’s building and use of a lethal bomb, as part of a plan to intimidate and prevent the victim from reporting a theft to the police, was a terrifying and despicable crime that requires the lengthy prison sentence that he will receive.  I am grateful for the nearly miraculous survival of the victim, as well as the effective investigation by law enforcement at the local, state, and federal levels, resulting in the quick identification and prosecution of the defendant." 

ATF Special Agent in Charge Ashan M. Benedict stated: "Keith Seppi committed a targeted, cowardly attack against Mr. Dobransky with a destructive device disguised as a package, which was intended to inflict, at a minimum, severe injury.  His motive was to prevent Mr. Dobransky from reporting crimes committed by Seppi's sister-in-law.  Such acts of violence will not be tolerated. Thanks to the superb efforts of the ATF Special Agents, Sheriff's Deputies, and New York State Police Investigators involved in the investigation, Seppi was quickly apprehended.  Today’s plea is a testament to the quality and comprehensiveness of their investigation.  We extend our well wishes to Mr. Dobransky and his family, and our gratitude to the United States Attorney's Office and the Oneida County District Attorney's Office for their partnership and diligence in seeing that justice is done."

Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara stated: "I would first like to recognize the victim, Alan Dobransky, as we all continue to wish him a full and speedy recovery from the injuries sustained as a result of this bombing.

"I would like to thank all of the members of local, state and federal law enforcement who spent countless hours to identify the perpetrators of this heinous attack and bring them to justice.  In particular, I would like to thank the Oneida County Sheriff's Office, New York State Police, New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, Office of Special Investigations, City of Utica Police Department, U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, FBI, Ashtabula Sheriff and Prosecutor (OH), Conneaut Police (OH).

"I would also like to thank U.S. Attorney Rick Hartunian and his Office, particularly Assistant U.S. Attorneys Steve Green and Nico Commandeur, for taking the lead on the investigation of federal charges against Keith Seppi and sending the strong and clear message that persons involved in the production and deployment of improvised explosive devices will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of our laws.

"I would also like to recognize First Assistant District Attorney Dawn Lupi and Assistant District Attorney Grant Garramone for all of the hard work that went into securing convictions for Keith Seppi, Cindy Shields and Donna Seppi in Oneida County Court for violations of New York State law. The success of this investigation is the direct result of the cooperation that occurred between all of the law enforcement agencies involved."

Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol said stated: "Premeditated acts of violence such as this will not be tolerated in our community.  I cannot thank those at the local, state, and federal levels enough who worked tirelessly, side by side with us from the day of the bombing right up until today, to insure that every possible resource was utilized to bring this complex case to a successful conclusion."

New York State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II stated: "This defendant knowingly plotted and planned to do serious harm to a New York State Corrections Officer and should be punished to the fullest extent for this heinous act. The New York State Police, along with our law enforcement partners at all levels, remain committed to ensuring the safety of all of our citizens and will work diligently to identify these types of threats and stop those who seek to cause to harm others. Such premeditated attacks will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

At sentencing, Seppi faces at least 30 years and up to life in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of post-imprisonment supervised release of up to 5 years.  A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the statute violated, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, and other factors.

This case was investigated by the ATF, the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office and the New York State Police, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephen C. Green and Nico Commandeur.

Updated March 1, 2017

Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime