CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Two men accused of creating and using bombs while part of an Ohio militia group are sitting in the Butler County Jail. Now, a man who said he used to be in the group before it was a militia said he’s glad he got out when he did.
A federal grand jury recently charged Ryan D. King, 37, of Franklin, Ohio and Randy D. Goodman, 53, of Ripley, Ohio with violating the National Firearms Act. They were each charged with counts related to possessing unregistered explosive devices.
Investigators believe King and Goodman were part of the “United Sheepdogs of Ohio." They are accused of creating a “special projects team” within the group to then build and use bombs.
A man that said he used to be in the group said he never dreamed the two men would do anything like this. FOX19 altered the man’s voice on air to protect his identity.
When the man joined the group, he said it was nameless, and the members only considered “preppers," or people who prepare to survive in emergencies.
“I wanted protection for my family and community, food and shelter and stuff like that if the electric grid went down or something, you know, have canned food, bottled water, stuff that your family can survive on," he said.
He said he left when he felt like the group was going in a different direction.
“Next thing you know, they’re wanting to buy steel plates and combat gear and all this," he says.
He said he was shocked to hear about the arrests.
“Caught me off guard," he says. "I was like, man -- I’m glad, I am so glad that I split up with them back when I did.”
Court records indicate King and Goodman met several times in January to test “crater makers” and to work on a bottle rocket. Prosecutors claim they talked about lethal devices, the Boston bombers and land mines.
“I’ve never heard them talking about building bombs," said the former member. "It kind of freaked me out, like, man -- I had these people right here with my family, you know.”
The man said that he didn’t know King or Goodman very well, but learning of the accusations gave him chills.
“(King), all he talked about was church and stuff, and then with (Goodman), he was just a cattle farmer that lived on his mom’s farm and raised cattle and sold peaches. It’s scary, you know what I mean?" he said. “It’s really scary.”
A possessing a destructive device charge could lead to a 10-year prison sentence. A conspiring to possess a destructive device charge could lead to five years in prison, if convicted.