Crime & Courts

Alleged SC courthouse pipe bomb suspect arrested by feds, denied bond

Pickens County courthouse bombing suspect after court appearance

Michael Lambert Seabrooke, the Pickens County courthouse bombing suspect, outside the federal courthouse in Greenville on Wednesday, July 10, 2019.
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Michael Lambert Seabrooke, the Pickens County courthouse bombing suspect, outside the federal courthouse in Greenville on Wednesday, July 10, 2019.

A 35-year-old suspect is being held in connection with the weekend pipe bombing of the Pickens County courthouse.

Michael Seabrooke, who has been living in northeast Columbia but has Pickens County ties, has violated federal law by possessing a unregistered destructive device, according to an affidavit in Seabrooke’s case sworn out by a federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent Thomas Kurtz.

No one was injured in the bombing.

Late Wednesday morning, Seabrooke made an initial court appearance at the federal courthouse in Greenville where he was denied bond, according to federal court records. Another hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday in Greenville.

Seabrooke was picked up Tuesday morning at his rental unit in northeast Columbia, federal officials said.

Seabrooke had been out on bond in connection with a sex crime charge when federal authorities arrested him Tuesday and charged him in the pipe bombing.

Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office deputies charged Seabrooke with first-degree criminal sexual conduct in January 2019, a state law enforcement background check shows. The offense allegedly happened in October 2017, the record says. A bond judge let him out of jail on $15,000 bond, according to court records.

Also early this year, he was found guilty of stalking and given probation.

The explosive devices allegedly planted by Seabrooke detonated around 11 p.m. Sunday, and Seabrooke was taken into custody Tuesday morning at his Columbia rental unit, according to the ATF affidavit.

“It was a very quick timeline — he essentially detonated these devices on Sunday night in Pickens and by Tuesday, he was in custody some 130 miles away,” said Lance Crick, 1st Assistant U.S. Attorney in South Carolina. “This speaks to the incredible coordination between local, state and federal law enforcement.”

Prosecutors gave no motive for the crime, but in the last two years, Seabrooke has filed lawsuits listing a host of grievances against Pickens County government officials.

A key break in the case came early on, when Pickens law officers checking surveillance cameras on businesses near the courthouse identified a Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck with a South Carolina license tag that led to Seabrooke, according to the affidavit in the case.

On searching the pickup, which belonged to another man, federal agents found two metal pipe bombs and two incendiary devices (Molotov cocktails) inside it, the affidavit said. The other man has no connections to Seabrooke’s alleged criminal activities, officials said.

After Seabrooke was given his Miranda warning, he “confessed” to an FBI and ATF agent that he had placed the device at the Pickens County courthouse, the affidavit said.

He also said he threw several destructive devices on the roof the Pickens County Department of Social Services.

Seabrooke’s confession and feud

On a 2017 Facebook page that appears to be Seabrooke’s, a post says he planted explosives in Pickens, appearing to be part of a scheme to bring attention to his allegedly missing children.

“It’s crazy how.two kids come up missing Pickens cops want (won’t) put out a Amber alert for my two kids. So I set off a bomb in there town to draw news coverage,” Seabrooke appears to have written on Facebook page on Oct. 9, 2017. “Bomb was set off the day before the big moon eclipse. No running or hiding. Still no cops.”

Seabrooke appears to ask people to contact the FBI and CIA and calls Pickens police crooked in the post.

Seabrooke’s concerns about his children being missing were unwarranted, according to a relative who spoke with the Greenville News at the time. Seabrooke’s former sister-in-law told the Greenville News the children were safe and in the custody of their mother, but that around 2015, Seabrooke started to believe the kids were murdered.

The defendant’s feud with Pickens County authorities goes deeper.

In June 2018, Seabrooke sued the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office, the county jail administrator and the solicitors office in federal court. In his suit he claimed after an October 2017 arrest that jail officials deprived him of sleep and medical care, causing him to have back issues and an infection in his mouth. The jail’s doctor refused to order mental health treatment for him, he said in the suit.

Officials denied the allegations, and the suit was thrown out by Judge Bruce Howe Hendricks, court records show.

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