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Darwin Award Nominee and Bengals Fan killed while recording pipe bomb


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WEST CHESTER TWP. - Among Daniel Ferraro's many interests: watching the

Cincinnati Bengals, shooting paintballs - and "blowing stuff up," he says on

his Facebook Internet site.

The latter fascination proved deadly.

Ferraro, 19, died Wednesday while apparently using a camera to record the

explosion of a homemade pipe bomb in his parents' back yard, authorities

said Thursday.

"A lot of times, you learn by mistakes. Unfortunately, Dan didn't have a

chance to learn from this one," said Rich Porter of Liberty Township, an

assistant leader of Boy Scout Troop 974.

Both Ferraro, 19, and his best friend, Robby Moser, 19, attained the

prestigious Eagle Scout award while in that West Chester troop.

"They were inseparable," Porter said.

But Wednesday's blast killed Ferraro and left Moser mourning his friend's

death while facing criminal charges, along with two juveniles.

Kathy Ferraro had previously warned her son about the explosives, family

spokesman Bob Wylly said.

"I know she expressed some concern for the few times he had experimented

with his more volatile chemicals and asked him not to."

Wylly wanted to the community to know Ferraro wasn't doing it to be


"He was bright and enthusiastic. He tends to latch on to something that

seems interesting and pursues it but it he always pursued with a purpose,"

he said. "Maybe he was thinking about (explosives) for a military background

and wanted to learn more. This was not a malicious event - it was an


As a sophomore psychology major and Naval ROTC member at Miami University,

Ferraro's Facebook site is accessible by more than 27,000 people through

that group alone; thousands of others can also see it through the Bengals

fans network and other groups to which Ferraro belonged.

On that site, Ferraro posted a birthday wish to Moser in August. The message

included several amusing reminiscences but also one that seems chilling in

retrospect: watching a chlorine bomb blow up in Moser's face.

Moser, of West Chester, was released from the Butler County jail on $35,000

bond Thursday. He is scheduled to appear Wednesday in Butler County Area III

Court, West Chester, on charges of involuntary manslaughter and illegally

manufacturing or possessing explosives, both felonies.

Ferraro died from severe face and head injuries as a result of the blast,

said Dr. Richard Burkhardt, Butler County coroner.

Ferraro apparently was struck by the metal pipe that was used to make the

bomb; pieces of camera also were found among his injuries, leading

investigators to conclude: "He was taking pictures after someone else lit

the fuse," Burkhardt said.

Police allege the young men fashioned the bomb from a metal pipe that was

about 6 inches long, 1 inch in diameter, packed with less than a pound of

black gunpowder, plus a fuse.

Porter said he thought the device was intended more as a post-New Year's

firework than as a bomb.

Instructions for making such devices are easily available from many sources,

including the Internet, said West Chester Police Capt. Joel Herzog.

Ferraro and his three companions were standing about 110 feet away from the


"That is a good distance away, so it just shows the amount of force this

thing generated," Herzog said.

The blast shook windows of neighbors, who called 911 to report the explosion

around 3 p.m. Wednesday.

The pipe bomb had been placed in the "fort" of a playset behind Ferraro's

home in the 6700 block of Apache Way.

His parents were not home at the time, but a younger sister was, police


His parents were not home at the time, but a younger sister of Ferraro was

at the house, police said.

The girl, who didn't give her name, told a dispatcher: "Something just blew

up...My brother and his friends were in the back yard. I don't know exactly

what happened, but I think my brother's injured...we need an ambulance ASAP,


All four young men were positioned in the same general area when the bomb

exploded, but Ferraro was the only one hurt.

"It was a freak thing. They were all there. They were all present," said

West Chester Police Sgt. Steve Oakes.

Wylly said Ferraro was the only one of the four who stood unprotected when

the bomb went off.

"Three of them went and got behind something to shelter themselves. Daniel

stood out, thinking the distance would make him safe."

Kathy and Tony Ferraro don't blame Moser for what happened, he said. They're

just worried about him.

Two juveniles, ages 14 and 15, both of West Chester, were released Thursday

on home incarceration. They are not being electronically monitored but have

been ordered to remain in their homes, said Tim Myers, Butler County

Juvenile Court spokesman.

Both faced delinquency counts of involuntary manslaughter and manufacturing

or possessing explosives. Such charges would be felonies if the defendants

were adults.

The teens were ordered to have no contact with each other, with Moser, nor

with the victim's family. They are scheduled for a pretrial hearing Jan. 24.

Neither youth had prior contact with the juvenile court system, Myers said.

Records obtained by The Enquirer show that police had been called about

other explosions at Ferraro's house months before Wednesday's explosion.

At about 11 p.m. June 26, an unidentified caller warned West Chester police

that juveniles at Ferraro's address "are always setting off fireworks," a

dispatch report said. "He states he thinks they are now lighting some type

of aerosol."

Residents nearby also made other noise complaints in that area in recent

months, according to police reports.

Ferraro's father, Anthony, is an energy management engineer at Miami and had

been his son's scoutmaster. His mother, Kathy, is a Lakota East High School

teacher. Neither were available for comment Thursday.

Claire Wagner, a spokeswoman for Miami University, said Ferraro's was the

fourth death of a Miami student since April. Two students died after they

were hit by a train and another died of a drug overdose.

Many of Ferraro's extended family was already in town for his two sisters'

birthdays, which are two weeks apart. The support, Wylly said, from the

family members and the community has been astounding.

"There's a great deal of shock and sadness but there's no blame around what

happened. They know Daniel was not a bad boy or a difficult to manage boy.

They understand his enthusiasm. The positive response has been a blessing."

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9 times out of 10 when I see someone has died because of stupidity I say good, one less moron on the highway slowing I75 down. It sucks though when it's just a kid though. But what if I lived next door to this idiot and my 4 year old was in the backyard playing and got hit with shrapnel? I'm a little surprised by how excessive the police are handling his best friend. The charges could ruin his entire life for a bomb he didn't make.

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