Movie Theater ‘Bottle Bomber' Sentenced to 18 Years

A man charged with detonating a series of chemical "bottle bombs" inside several movie theaters in Maryland was sentenced Friday to 18 years in prison.

Manuel Joyner-Bell, Jr., 21, detonated the devices in movie theaters in Prince George's, Montgomery and Anne Arundel counties.

The bottle bombs were filled with acid and metal. The material inside reacted, exploded the bottles and spewed acid; they are capable of sending the acid 20 to 30 feet, fire officials have said.

Police have said an online trail led them straight to Joyner-Bell -- who admitted to setting off six bottle bombs at local movie theaters.

Prince George's County authorities say Joyner-Bell was the only person who used the website to purchase movie tickets for the six shows during which bottle bombs exploded.

"Mr. Bell found pleasure in terrorizing people and I believe he learned today that his actions were no laughing matter," said Prince George's County State's Attorney Angela Alsobrooks. "Mr. Bell committed these acts in six different movie theaters across our region in an attempt to cause widespread fear and panic because he enjoyed seeing the terror on people’s faces, and that behavior will not be tolerated."

He will be extradited to Virginia to face similar charges there.

Joyner-Bell is also charged with two separate bottle-bomb explosions at the AMC Theater in Tyson's Corner, Virginia. People in the packed theater heard the explosions and thought someone was shooting a gun; active shooter teams responded to the theater that night.

Additionally, Joyner-Bell is facing charges for doing the same thing at a theater in Alexandria and another in downtown Silver Spring.

He is also a suspect in the explosion at a theater in Arundel Mills in Hanover, Maryland, and at the Magic Johnson Movie Theatre in Largo.

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