Intent in explosives case murky

BUFORD -- Five people charged with manufacturing homemade explosives resembling dynamite this week remain tight-lipped about their intentions, authorities said Thursday.

The crew was allegedly caught in possession of two explosive devices and materials to manufacture them during a routine traffic stop and subsequent search of a Buford home Monday.

The explosives, packed with shrapnel in the form of household nails and screws, appeared to be built to inflict bodily harm, authorities said.

But investigators have found nothing to indicate the suspects had any type of involvement with domestic terrorism, hate groups or militias, said Fire Department spokesman Capt. Thomas Rutledge.

The suspects -- William Dale Parten, 41, Phillip Ray Duncan, 54, Shirley Maddox, 62, all of Buford, Michael Brewer, 42, of Winder, and Matthew Henry Rothove, 44, of Flowery Branch -- have obtained legal counsel.

"Investigators hope to question them again in the near future," Rutledge said.

In earlier interviews, the suspects finger-pointed amongst themselves and denied knowledge of the explosives, authorities said.

Neighbors surmised the explosives could have been used for amusement. One man reported hearing a loud boom recently in woods near the home in question.

All five suspects face felony counts of possession of an explosives device. They remain at the Gwinnett County Jail without bond.

Authorities haven't said what type of components were used to create the devices or where they had been obtained.

Manufacturing or possessing any type of destructive device is illegal in Georgia, Rutledge said.

Arson and explosives investigators with the Gwinnett County Fire Department continue to lead the ongoing investigation, Rutledge said.