Trial set for Trenton bomb suspect

Sunday Times Newspapers

TRENTON – A grand jury Indictment was issued Tuesday charging 41-year-old John Robert Kennedy with six counts of weapons crimes. The charges stem from a pair of explosive devices left in Trenton and a bomb threat made to Trenton High School.

U.S. District Court Judge John Corbett O’Meara will preside over Kennedy’s jury trial, scheduled to begin Sept. 6 in Ann Arbor.

Kennedy was arraigned last month following his arrest in Flat Rock by agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Marshals, Michigan State Police and the Trenton Police Department. Police and federal agents believe Kennedy was responsible for planting two explosive devices in the city as well as making a bomb threat to the high school on April 28.

Kennedy, who has a criminal history in Michigan beginning in 1991 that includes five felony convictions, is charged with being a felon in possession of explosives, possession of an unregistered firearm (or destructive device), felon in possession of a firearm (or destructive device), manufacture of a destructive device, felon in possession of ammunition, and possession of body armor by a person previously convicted of a felony crime of violence.

Investigators said that Kennedy, an Indiana native living at his mother and stepfather’s Flat Rock mobile home, made the phone threat to Trenton High School, placed an explosive device in the parking lot, and also detonated an improvised explosive device near the parking lot of ACO Hardware, 2080 Van Horn Road.

The phone call to the school was traced to a cellular phone purchased three days earlier from Wal-Mart in Woodhaven. Store records confirmed the time of purchase, and store employees identified Kennedy on surveillance video in the store and in the parking lot, driving away in a Chevrolet Trailblazer.

Investigators narrowed down the location from which the call was placed, and located a vehicle matching the store’s video as one owned in Flat Rock. There a multi-divisional task force took Kennedy into custody, and he was arraigned on June 7.

(James Mitchell can be reached at