A Tacoma, Washington woman pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to unlawful possession of a destructive device, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. KENNI JO BENNETT, 41, of Tacoma, and an accomplice, placed the explosive device under a Kia Forte sedan parked outside a Tacoma home occupied by a family, including several children. The device exploded blasting a hole in the trunk area of the car, and scattering debris around the area, including the lawns of homes across the street. No one was injured. U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton scheduled sentencing for January 5, 2018.
According to the plea agreement, between August and October 2016, BENNETT became convinced that the victim was providing information to law enforcement concerning her drug trafficking activities. BENNETT recruited an accomplice to help her blow up the victim’s car. BENNETT purchased an explosive device about the size of a soda can from someone she knew on the Puyallup Indian Reservation. In the early morning hours of October 13, 2016, BENNETT cruised the victim’s neighborhood and saw his car parked in the driveway of his home. She texted her accomplice, picked him up, and brought him back to the target vehicle. BENNETT used a lit cigarette to ignite the fuse of the device and instructed her accomplice where to place it. BENNETT used her smart phone to record the explosion. The two then left the area.
BENNETT was arrested by Tacoma Police and charged in state court in November 2016. In May 2017, she was charged federally and has remained in federal custody.
Unlawful possession of a destructive device is punishable by up to ten years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $10,000 fine.
The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) and the Tacoma Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Erin H. Becker.
Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Public Affairs Officer Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@usdoj.gov.