I'm actually more surprised this hasn't happened before in the Rocky world, with some of the cast rivalries I've seen. Someone on the Austin cast actually threatened to firebomb my apartment at one point long ago. http://blog.al.com/live/2010/09/pair_of ... _have.html
MOBILE, Ala. -- What started as a simmering team dispute earlier this year on the Mobile Roller Derby team apparently escalated into a pair of bombings at the roller skating rink the team uses in Tillmanâ€™s Corner and two attacks on the home of the organizationâ€™s president.
â€œWe were just shocked,â€ said Jessica Wendling, the teamâ€™s captain and vice president.
Federal authorities last month arrested Samantha Leigh Kimbrough, who was a volunteer on the team, and charged her with making the bombs and trying to set fires. A federal grand jury in Mobile will consider formal charges, possibly as early as this month.
Kimbrough remained jailed under a federal court order. Her attorney, Assistant Federal Defender Fred Tiemann, said he has not seen all of the evidence but insisted his client never tried to hurt anyone.
For members of Mobile Roller Derby, Kimbroughâ€™s arrest has been an unwelcome distraction from what otherwise has been the groupâ€™s most successful year ever.
Kathleen Bryars, the organizationâ€™s treasurer, said community interest in the team has grown exponentially since its debut. Average attendance at the teamâ€™s matches has swelled from about 60 last year to 566 at the last contest, she said.
Bryars said the team is looking forward to its final bout of the year Oct. 30, with a kid-friendly fall festival beforehand.
Samantha Kimbrough.jpegView full sizeSamantha Kimbrough
â€œItâ€™s family-oriented. This cut us off at the knees,â€ she said of the incidents. â€œWe want the community to know this is a safe place. Weâ€™re good people.â€
Jessica Miller, a nurse who is Mobile Roller Derbyâ€™s president, said the problems began when Kimbroughâ€™s roommate joined the team. Miller said the roommate, whom she declined to name, feuded with the organizationâ€™s officers and some of her teammates.
Miller said the woman also complained about playing time and team rules. She said the team voted 19-3 in May to suspend the woman, then kicked her off the team when she violated the terms of the suspension.
That same month, according to an affidavit filed in court by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Kimbrough tried to set Millerâ€™s house on fire.
Miller said her dogs started barking, and her boyfriend went outside to see a car speeding away. The couple later found six gasoline-filled balloons on the roof.
Kimbrough admitted that she tried to set the fire and also confessed to throwing a pipe bomb into Millerâ€™s driveway, according to the affidavit. Although Miller told authorities that she did not know about the bomb, ATF agents searched the area and found an explosive device in a neighborâ€™s yard, according to court records.
The bomb was still intact, but the fuse appeared to be missing, the affidavit stated.
In July, a Molotov cocktail started a fire in the lobby of Dreamland Skate Center on Three Notch Road. Then a pipe bomb on Aug. 21 damaged the buildingâ€™s 10-ton air conditioning unit. The rinkâ€™s owner said he didnâ€™t connect the two incidents until federal and local investigators traced them back to Kimbrough.
â€œIt makes me very nervous,â€ said Miller, who added that she and her boyfriend have armed themselves and taken other security measures. â€œIâ€™m still very edgy.â€
Kimbroughâ€™s lawyer said he plans to ask for a psychological evaluation. He said his client had a stable job as a customer service representative and no criminal record.
â€œIt just seems strange that a 33-year-old whoâ€™s never been in trouble, always worked, always paid her bills, because of something that wasnâ€™t even about her, would resort to this,â€ Tiemann said.