Former President Obama and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott were the targets of two homemade bombs by a Texas woman, prosecutors say. (REUTERS)
A Texas woman built at least three bombs using a cellphone, a cigarette box and a salad dressing cap, and sent them to former President Barack Obama and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, prosecutors said.
Julia Poff, 46, mailed the improvised explosives in October 2016 to Obama and Abbott, and a third one to the Social Security Administration offices in Washington, D.C.
Of the three packages, only Abbott opened his. It did not detonate because “he did not open it as designed,” court documents said.
A grand jury indicted the woman this month on six counts, including mailing injurious articles and transporting explosives with the intent to kill and injure, according to documents filed this week in a district court in Houston.
At a Nov. 17 detention hearing, a federal agent testified that Poff sent Obama the bomb because she just didn’t like the former president.
The agent also said that Poff was angry with Abbot because she did not receive support from her ex-husband when Abbott served as Texas Attorney General, before he was elected governor in 2014.
Poff’s application for social security benefits was denied.
According to court documents, investigators traced the package sent to Obama back to Poff because of a cat hair found under an address label. In addition, the cigarette box used in the device sent to Abbott bore a Texas tobacco stamp that helped identify the store where the cigarettes were sold.
Two incendiary powders in the box matched materials found in Poff’s home, investigators said.
Poff is being held at the Houston federal detention center.
Katie Hill, a spokeswoman with the former president's private office, declined to comment Friday. A call by The Associated Press to Abbott's public affairs office in Austin was not immediately returned.
A criminal background check shows Poff has a misdemeanor conviction for theft. She was also convicted for state felony fraud. In both cases, she was given probation.
A pretrial conference in the case is scheduled for early next year.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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