Wesley Dallas Ayers from Anderson County, South Carolina has been indicted on multiple charges, including federal gun charges and charges to do with explosives, in relation to a number of explosive devices that were discovered since January.
What led to Ayers going from no criminal record, to facing an indictment that could send him to jail for life? Here is the latest on this fascinating story.
Who Is Wesley Ayers?
If you just went by face value, there is nothing really remarkable about 27-year-old Wesley Dallas Ayers. He was never arrested, nor does he have a criminal record. His social media channels are relatively quiet, with not much being displayed for public showing. Nothing on an occupation or anything of that sort.
The closest you may find to anything disturbing is a love of horror films and Stephen King. The last photo publicly posted to his Facebook account references The Walking Dead character, Negan, a character who wields a baseball bat wrapped in barbwire.
But dig a little deeper, and federal officials allege that you will find a man who wants to watch the world burn. Stories of a man who used crystal meth, and allegedly beat his fiancée’s cat to death with Negan’s weapon of choice emerged. A man who made explosives in his backyard.
According to the indictment that led to Ayers’ arrest, he is a violent individual who has been creating explosives that look like innocent objects. He also reportedly left notes filled with Jihadist messages.
The case began in late December 2017, when someone reported an explosion in her yard on Travis Road. While no one was injured, bomb materials and items to attach it to a drone were found.
On January 30, 2018, a man was injured after investigating a wicker basket with his 14-year-old daughter near Travis and Martin. According to the victim, the basket was hissing. As the victim went in for a closer look, the basket shot out flames and then exploded. Luckily, the victim in this case only suffered minor injuries to his legs.
Another package was discovered in early February, but this one turned out to be a decoy. The package contained a three-page note discussing how the January 30 bomb was only the beginning, and that the explosives would continue to appear until the Islamic State flag flew high.
A third actual explosive was found on February 15, another explosive device was discovered on Little Mountain Road. This time it was a teddy bear sitting on top of a basket with red glowing eyes. When investigated by the FBI, it was discovered that the bundle contained a battery and explosives.
Three days later, another decoy package was found. This one contained more pledges to the Islamic State. On February 25, another explosive device was discovered
But the mysterious bomber made a number of mistakes along the way.
According to officials, Ayers made a number of mistakes with the explosive device in regards to his identity. The biggest being that he left his fingerprints on some of the bomb-making materials. The teddy bear bomb also resembled a tattoo that he had on his left arm.
Ayers also had ties to the Travis Road area. Upon further investigation, agents discovered that Ayers was known to create explosive devices in his backyard and set them off. This was also followed by stories of his drug use, and the killing of his fiancée’s cat.
Initially, Ayers was arrested on Saturday, April 7, for possession of an unregistered firearm. But after searches in the area were carried out, more evidence began to appear.
In a buried ottoman, agents found batteries, glow sticks, copper fittings, green tape, clips, and a fishing pole with lines, and materials used in the decoy packages, or similar to those used in the explosives. Pieces of chemical reaction bombs were also found with the ottoman.
A rifle and handgun were also found on the property. As of this writing, Ayers currently sits with a 12-count indictment that includes the transportation of explosive materials with the intent to injure; possession and use of destructive devices during the commission of a crime of violence; use of a destructive device during the commission of a felony; in addition to the unregistered firearm charges.
If convicted, Ayers could face life in prison. He is currently being held without bond, and a court date has yet to be set.