Special Reports

Agents check firewood for more bullet evidence

FBI agents scoured two Olympia-area woodpiles on Thursday, looking for bullets in wood cut from a tree that sniper suspect John Allen Muhammad may have used for target practice, the homeowner said.

Pat Finney, who owns and rents out a Tacoma duplex next to one where Muhammad once lived, said he and his father-in-law cut down two maple trees in Finney's back yard - one in 1997 and another in March 2001.

While cutting the second tree with a chain saw, Finney said they noticed there was some metal inside the wood.

"We noticed something in one of the trees because it took out a chain," he said.

FBI agents on Wednesday removed the stump of that second tree, which was to be shipped to an Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms lab in Maryland.

Finney said he told agents about firewood that had been cut from the two trees. Some of it was stored outside the home where Finney lives, the rest at his father-in-law's home in Olympia.

While agents found some holes in the wood, and heard some beeps from the metal detectors, they found no metallic evidence, she said.

About a dozen investigators then moved to Finney's father-in-law's house. With darkness approaching, they formed a kind of bucket brigade, with one investigator flipping firewood from the stack to another investigator, who held it while a third ran a metal detector over it. If the wood didn't set off the detector, it was flipped down the line to be restacked.