Debra Freeman, wife of an Army enlisted man arrested Tuesday and accused of planting apparently homemade bombs near an abandoned farmhouse in Prince George's County, doesn't understand what the fuss is all about.
Her 22-year-old husband, Spec. 4 John Graham Freeman, sometimes played military games, she said, with his close friend and fellow member of the U.S. Army ceremonial guard, Pfc. Corridan Emery Butler of Suitland. The Freemans' five-acre home in semirural Fort Washington was perfect for military games.
"They didn't make real bombs, they just went out and played war games," Debra Freeman said after yesterday's bond hearing for her husband and Butler, 20, who was arrested with Freeman. "Even some of their sergeants came over and said the area around the house was a good place to practice war tactics."
Early Tuesday morning, Butler and Freeman, wearing camouflage fatigues and with their faces blackened, were arrested by Prince George's County police near a farmhouse after allegedly setting off two explosive devices and planting four others, according to Capt. James Mundy of the county fire department.
The site, at 3501 Steed Rd., is to be used later this month for a series of Halloween horror shows staged by neighborhood teen-agers. The building was not damaged by the two blasts and no one was injured, but had the explosives all gone off at one time, the building and anyone in it might have been destroyed, Mundy said.
Seven additional homemade explosive devices and the equipment to manufacture them were found at the home of Freeman, who along with Butler was charged with the manufacture and possession of explosives and malicious destruction of property.
County District Court Judge Thomas R. Brooks ordered both released on their personal recognizance after attorney Alan Goldstein assured the judge that both would appear for trial Nov. 18.
Debra Freeman and Butler's wife Tracy were jubilant after that announcement. The two women, in court with family members and friends from Independent Baptist Church in Clinton, said they had prayed all night for their husbands' release.
Tracy Butler, who said she does not believe her husband intended to harm anyone, was worried early Tuesday as she waited for him. "He told me before they left they were going to a place called 'Blood Manor,' " she said.
Debra Freeman was washing dishes about 3 a.m. when officials brought her husband home. "I opened the door and at least 20 people marched in," she said. "They searched every millimeter of the house. They even looked at my ice cubes with a magnifying glass and tested the water in my steam-dry iron."
Freeman and Butler are members of the Rev. Pat Creed's Sunday school class, and yesterday, Creed called the incident "totally out of character . . . They apparently got together for a bunch of kid stuff in the spirit of the [Halloween] season, and it got out of hand."