“I think that’s very likely,” federal public defender Jake Waldrop said. “I think in today’s culture a posting can be misinterpreted by the press, by the public, by anybody, whether it be a public person or a private citizen.”
Celia Savage, 23, of Cornelia, is charged with manufacturing pipe bombs, receiving or possessing pipe and using controlled substances while possessing firearms and destructive devices.
Savage was escorted by two U.S. Marshals as she entered the courtroom wearing handcuffs, jail-issued clothing and shackles on her feet.
With brown hair hanging over the left side of her face, Savage smiled at 14 family members and friends sitting nearby. After marshals removed the handcuffs and shackles, Savage took a seat next to Waldrop and briefly cried before Magistrate Judge Susan S. Cole entered the courtroom.
The arraignment lasted about 20 minutes. Cole asked Savage if she understood the charges.
“Yes, ma’am,” Savage said before entering her not guilty plea.
If convicted, Savage faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on each count.
Savage’s mother, Kim Willard, declined to speak with The Associated Press outside the courthouse.
Cole assigned the case to Senior Judge William C. O’Kelley of the Northern District Court. A trial date has not been set.
After the government shares its discovery with Savage, her attorney plans to file a motion asking O’Kelley to allow bond. Savage has been in jail since federal agents arrested her on June 1.
No dates have been set for the hearing Waldrop will request before O’Kelley or for the beginning of a trial.
Federal agents searched Savage’s home in Habersham County on May 30 and said they found pipe bombs, firearms and suspected illegal drugs. A sworn statement by a federal agent also said Savage told agents she likes to blow up toilets and that she has made pipe bombs as a hobby.
Court documents show that agents found pipe bombs, multiple guns and suspected drugs in a room that Savage called her “lab.”
During questioning, Savage told agents that she had made between five and seven pipe bombs of various sizes and a “cherry bomb,” which she described as a tennis ball containing gun powder, according to the statement from a Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent.
She told the agents she knew it was wrong or against the law to make the devices, but said it was her hobby and she is passionate about it.
Federal agents found two pipe bombs and a number of guns, as well as illegal drug paraphernalia and suspected marijuana, suspected methamphetamine and numerous pills in Savage’s home. She told agents she had used marijuana the day before and had used methamphetamine two months ago.
Waldrop said Savage looks forward to telling a jury her side of the story.
“No story can be reduced to a sound bite,” Waldrop said, “and I would hate for us to judge people on that basis, and that’s really all I have to say.”