Bomber murders five in family vendetta: Killings carried out across New York State

IN ONE of the strangest mass killings in recent months, three members of one family who lived hundreds of miles apart in upstate New York and two bystanders were killed on Tuesday by parcel bombs.

Police said the bombings were prompted by a family vendetta. 'We feel at this stage of the game it's somebody who has some type of vendetta or vengeance against the family,' said the New York State Police Superintendent, Thomas Constantine. 'There was some relationship in this family to bring this terrible type of tragedy on them. The bombings were not random.'

The attacks brought in investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as state and local police. The survivors of the attacks have been placed in protective custody. Police yesterday arrested two men in connection with the bombings. They were named as Michael Stevens and Earl Figley and could face the death penalty if convicted of transporting the explosives used in the killings across state lines. The bomber, or bombers, sent at least six devices in plastic tool-boxes to places in the Buffalo area where members of the Fowler family lived or worked. Four of the bombs exploded as the boxes were being opened; two more were defused by authorities.

Law enforcement sources were quoted as saying the bombings apparently stemmed from a dispute between Mr Stevens and his former wife, Brenda. She was reported to have been questioned, but sources did now know if she was considered a suspect. Police said one suspect had a connection to all the Fowler family members to whom bombs had been sent.

A picture was released of a man in his fifties, a description based on information from delivery firms that picked up the packages. Police said the bomber knew how to make the devices and where to find the family members at a given time of day. When the latch of the tool-boxes was opened a trigger was sprung, exploding the device. The boxes had a return address of the Liberty Iron and Metal Company of Erie, Pennsylvania, but the company had no idea how the bomber had obtained the boxes.

One of the bombs was delivered to the family of Robert and Eleanor Fowler of West Valley, near Buffalo. It destroyed the Fowlers' home, killing Mrs Fowler. Her husband was killed by a device sent to his workplace at an armoured-car garage. A colleague of Fowler's was also killed in that blast and another man was wounded.

Mrs Fowler's daughter by a previous marriage, Pamela Epperson, was killed by a bomb sent to her apartment in Rochester. Her boyfriend also died. Ms Epperson's uncle, William Lazore, was wounded by a bomb mailed to him on the St Regis Indian reservation near Massena, New York. He said he was suspicious 'for reasons of his own' when he saw the box; he opened it with a rake and was wounded in the leg.

One of the defused bombs was sent to Mrs Fowler's daughter Lucille, who lives 40 miles south of Buffalo, and another was sent to her boyfriend, Scott Kemp, at a 'boot camp' prison 50 miles from Buffalo where he works as a guard. The prison refused to accept the package and it was being returned to Buffalo in a delivery truck when police intercepted the vehicle and safely detonated the device.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Executive

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

Recruitment Genius: Electricians - Fixed Wire Testing

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£16575 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity is ava...

Day In a Page

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue