GMC poorly-conceived pipe bomb suspects indicted

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The two men involved in last winter's poorly-conceived pipe bomb incident at Georgia Military College were indicted earlier this month.

Lionel Timothy Bowen, the older suspect, was indicted on one count of possession of explosive device by a convicted felon, while Morgan Stipe Sills was indicted on one count of unlawful handling of explosive device and one count of carrying weapon within certain school areas. 

All three statutes are felonies.

Both men lived in the River Edge Behavioral Health group home at 121 South Elbert Street, located just north of the GMC campus. Bowen, 60, is a familiar face around downtown and can often be spotted playing his guitar and/or panhandling. Sills, 33, also was a regular around the downtown restaurant/bars. In September 2020, Sills was tasered multiple times by a Milledgeville Police Department officer, arrested and charged with obstruction of an officer and disorderly conduct. Officers responded after Sills “picked up and knocked (a woman) to the ground” inside of Buffington’s and later “standing inside (of The Brick) and screaming at the other patrons.”

Law enforcement and first responders converged in droves on the campus of Georgia Military College on Jan. 28, 2021, trying to figure out exactly what was sitting underneath a park bench. The device originally was discovered by a GMC employee zip-tied to a park bench outside of Usery Hall, which is the new 70,000-square-foot prep school building that opened several years ago. The GMC Campus Police department then responded and quickly called in assistance from the GBI, which examined and ultimately removed the device. At the time, an accurate description of the device was not made readily available to the public, and more questions remained on answers. Ultimately, however, Chief Dray Swicrod said that he “definitely wouldn’t describe the device as harmless looking,” adding that the contraption was some hodgepodge of a rod, socket wrench, shotgun shells and zip ties.

Bowen and Sills were arrested within 24 hours of the incident. 

Sills actually was re-arrested in March after he reportedly became upset after he was given “Nutraloaf” or “prison loaf,” which is a meatloaf-looking dish made of various ingredients. Added an incident report: “Sills became upset about his breakfast being a packout (Nutraloaf). (A jailer) informed him once he stopped refusing housing, he would be moved to regular population and given a regular tray. Inmate Sills stated he could not go to a dorm with other inmates. (The jailer) informed him that as long as he refused housing, he would remain on Nutraloaf.” Sills then “snatched the packout out of the flap (of his cell) in order to close it” and then “threw a liquid, which appeared to be milk, onto (the jailer).”

Bowen eventually was identified as the maker of the “homemade pipe bomb contraption devices,” which is how it was described in an incident report. During the search warrant of the group home, photographed and taken into evidence were:

• “380 ammunition – located on table

• Black flashlight inside manipulated metal pipe on table

• Manipulated metal pipe with 380 live round embedded in one end of pipe on table

• Blue bag containing additional metal pipes next to table”


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