Four Newberry College students charged in bomb blasts

September 24, 2009 

Four Newberry College students have been charged with the state felony of possession and manufacturing a destructive device, police said this afternoon.

The charge carries a minimum of two years and a maximum of 15 years in prison.

Newberry police chief Jackie Swindler identified the four as:

-Steven Lamar Bell, of Columbia, age 19.

-Christopher Lindsaay Hopkins, of Winnsboro, age 18.

-Brandon Jarrod King, of Elgin, age 20.

-Jordan Alexander Belton, of Ridgeway, age 18.

Swindler said all four are in the Newberry County jail and bond has not been set.

Newberry College officials could not be reached for comment.

The four were arrested after three explosions rocked the normally peaceful 90-acre campus earlier this week.

Dozens of police, firefighters and state and federal agents swarmed onto the campus and evacuated and searched a freshman dormitory housing 293 students.

Under the law, if anyone had been injured in the blasts, persons convicted of setting off the devices could have been sentenced to a minimum of 10 years in prison.

Police said earlier this week there were no injuries. (Reach Monk at 803-771-8344)

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