Ronnie Greer could have faced death if convicted on charges that he placed a pipe bomb that killed a 5-year-old boy in 2002. Instead, the federal government chose Monday to dismiss the charges against him.
Greer still sits in jail, serving a 15-year sentence for possession of ammunition by a convicted felon. The other charges — transporting an explosive device with intent to injure or kill, unlawful possession of an unregistered destructive device, use of a destructive device during a crime of violence and possession of an explosive by a convicted felon — disappeared when U.S. District Court Judge Clay Land granted Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Solis' motion to drop the charges.
Marcia Shein, one of Greer's attorneys, said her client was initially linked to the bomb by inferences through conversation and that the bomb fragments weren't connected to him. That, combined with many psychological evaluations, led to the charges being dropped, she said.
"I think it was the right decision," Shein added. "It was one of those cases where justice was truly appropriately applied."
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A federal grand jury indicted Greer in February 2007 — nearly five years after a pipe bomb he was accused of owning and transporting exploded on a flat-bed trailer.
Sammy Joe Evans, 5, and his 7-year-old sister were visiting their great-grandmother at her Cusseta home when the homemade bomb exploded. The deadly blast occurred as the children were playing on the trailer near her business, Mrs. Hope Palm Reading, at 340 Ga. 520.
The girl received only cuts. Sammy had severe injuries to his legs, feet and abdomen. He died the next day.
While searching Greer's home on Ga. 520, investigators found a 7mm Remington Magnum rifle cartridge and a 12-gauge shotgun shell.
He was arrested in January 2004, approximately a year and half after the bombing, for possession of ammunition by a convicted felon, and sentenced to 15 years in prison. He had been convicted in Chattahoochee County Superior Court in 1989, 1993 and 2000 of making terroristic threats.
"He didn't have any (bomb making) instructions in his apartment," Shein said. "He didn't even have a computer where he could get online and get instructions. Obviously, we're pleased with the outcome and so is his family."