Homemade bombmaker receives 2 1/2 years in prison

Dec 11, 2017

A 47-year-old Niagara Falls man, who lost his leg when he stomped out an ignited homemade bomb, has been sentenced to 30 months in prison for unlawful possession of a destructive device.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says Michael O'Neill was making bombs in his garage in July 2015 when the accident happened.

The Niagara County Sheriff's Office responded to a 911 call at O'Neill's house on Walmore Road in Wheatfield and found him with a badly injured leg from an explosion. O'Neill was flown by Mercy Flight to Erie County Medical Center, where his leg was later amputated below the knee.

Investigators found six explosive devices in his garage, including five constructed inside hard cardboard tubing. There also was an assortment of explosive powders.

O'Neill told investigators that he learned how to make explosives by watching a YouTube video on stump removal.

They said O'Neill was using a heat gun, which ignited what he was making. The item dropped onto the floor and he attempted to stomp it out when it exploded.