A former maintenance technician at Colonial Williamsburg was sentenced to 10 years in prison Thursday for rigging a pipe bomb that exploded at the historic site.
"What I did was completely irresponsible and dangerous," wrote Stephen Powers of the October 2017 incident in a letter to U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen. "I wish I could go back in time and erase it all."
Powers, 31, had built other bombs that were found in his home, according to records filed with the federal court in Newport News. "One possible and reasonable inference is that the defendant was testing a device that he would later use to murder his wife," prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memo.
The bomb that detonated was connected to an outlet set to turn on decorative lights at 5 every evening in a shopping area. That way Powers was able to leave the scene before the explosion, which sprayed large pieces of metal around a restaurant parking lot.
"We should all feel extremely fortunate this individual's recklessness and brazen indifference for human life did not result in someone being killed or seriously injured," Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Special Agent Ashan Benedict said in a statement.
Prosecutors say Powers was quickly identified as a suspect due to his unusual behavior in the days before the explosion. After his arrest he lied about not just his actions but his military service and drug use. He pleaded guilty to possession of unregistered destructive devices and making false statements to the FBI.