Milton Ohlsen III, a.k.a. "Skip," has finally been charged in the 2008 parking garage bombing that rocked the Clayton legal community.
The man previously identified only as a "person of interest" in the bombing of a Clayton parking garage, Milton "Skip" Ohlsen III
, has been indicted on five felony counts in federal court.
Ohlsen's indictment appears to suggest the all-too-cliched motive for the bombing that we first suggested in 2009: an angry divorce. As we reported
, Ohlsen's wife had been represented in his divorce by an attorney who parked in the garage that was bombed -- and his wife's attorney drove the same kind of car, an Acura TL, as the attorney who was actually (and likely mistakenly) injured in the blast, John L. Gillis.
The prosecutors on the case, U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan and St. Louis County Circuit Attorney Bob McCulloch, have declined to comment on what evidence finally enabled them to file the charges -- or why it became a federal case instead of a state one.
In a press release, however, Callahan's office confirms that Ohlsen has been charged with one felony count each of malicious use of an explosive device, use of a destructive device to commit a crime of violence, felon in possession of an explosive, possession of an unregistered destructive device and transportation of explosive with intent to injure.
Ohlsen has been something of a Zelig in St. Louis crime circles: He was actually at the center of the investigation into fallen state Senator Jeff Smith
-- the liberal wunderkind who quit office in disgrace
after being charged with two felony counts of obstructing justice. Ohlsen, who'd been involved with Smith's campaign, had provided information to federal investigators.
As Daily RFT
's Chad Garrison wrote at the time, Ohlsen was also facing mortgage fraud and gun charges. And that wasn't the only blot on his record -- nor was the Ohlsen campaign an isolated involvement in politics:
The 2004 congressional race was not Ohlsen's only foray into political
work. In 2006 he helped strip-club operator Mike Ocello get elected to
the Mehlville School Board. Ohlsen, 37, is said to have been so immersed
in Democratic politics in the early 2000s that he was included on the
email strings of many of Missouri's highest office holders.
also has had numerous brushes with the law. In 1996 he was sentenced to
four years probation for "intent to distribute" cocaine. In 2007 his
wife in Town & Country filed an order of protection
against him claiming Ohlsen "physically restrained and choked me ...
the choking was to where I could not breathe and [my] vision was
starting to grey." In March 2008 police in Ladue pulled over Ohlsen in
his black Ford Expedition and found him in possession of a stolen .40
Since 2007, Ohlsen has been busted on two other occasions for possessing firearms, which convicted felons -- such as he -- are prohibited from having. In May he pleaded guilty to the gun charges. He also pleaded guilty to mortgage fraud.
Incidentally, Ohlsen may have had two reasons to hate Rick Eisen, the Clayton family law attorney whose Acura he was likely attempting to blow up in the 2008 bombing. Not only had Eisen represented Ohlsen's ex, Michelle, in their divorce, but he also represented another man who attempted to get a restraining order against Ohlsen.
When Joel Hollenbeck's soon-to-be-ex wife starting dating Ohlsen, he asked for a temporary restraining order to keep Ohlsen from their daughter. Eisen was his attorney. Hollenbeck later told the Post-Dispatch
that federal investigators reported finding fake IDs inscribed with Hollenbeck's name in Ohlsen's apartment.
Sounds like a real winner. Really, should anyone be surprised this guy tried to blow up his ex-wife's divorce lawyer? It's nice to see prosecutors finally bringing down the hammer.