Tacoma couple charged after explosive device blew up in their home

Staff writerJune 10, 2014 

They spent a year collecting used ammunition around Joint Base Lewis-McChord and melting it to sell as scrap metal – until one of the rounds exploded at a Tacoma home, injuring the couple and tipping police off to what they’d been up to.

Pierce County prosecutors have charged Juliette Parker, 32, and Cody Hyman, 27, with possession of an explosive device, third-degree assault and reckless endangerment. The couple, who now live in Texas, is set to be arraigned June 23.

The investigation started Jan. 18 after Parker called 911 to report that a bullet had exploded at her home in the 5600 block of I Street. The blast blew a 2-foot hole in the floor just above where her children, ages 4 and 10, slept below.

Hyman suffered two severely damaged fingers which may have to be removed, according to charging papers. Parker had shrapnel in her eye and face.

Officers allegedly found three big buckets of ammunition in the bedroom, as well as an 81 mm mortar round and loose 20 mm and 7.62 rounds used in military grade weapons. They left the home and called the department’s bomb squad.

Agents from the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives joined the investigation and helped search the home. In the driveway, they allegedly found containers filled with disassembled 40 mm military munitions and three 81 mm mortar rounds that were still functional. The U.S. Army took those rounds and destroyed them, officials said.

Hyman was apparently using a screwdriver to disassemble a 20 mm shell casing when it exploded in his hand, records show.

Parker told police they’d found the ammunition around the Lake Lewis camping area while four-wheeling, took them home and melted them down to sell as scrap metal, charging papers show. The couple said they'd been doing it for nearly a year without any trouble.

Law enforcement has not yet determined the value of the recovered ammunition.

Prosecutors said more charges may be filed against Hyman and Parker as the investigation continues.

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