Savannah man facing charges related to “firebombing” of ex-wife’s vehicle asks to be released before trial

Published: Sep. 2, 2022 at 6:33 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - In a WTOC exclusive, a Savannah man appeared in U.S. District Court today, accused of detonating an explosive device he built and put in his ex-wife’s car while she was driving in Savannah.

Attorney’s for Barry Wright, the defendant, are now asking a federal judge to allow their client to be released from jail until his trial, since he’s been in custody for over three years.

Wright, wearing a bright orange jumpsuit and shackles, went before a judge today along with his two attorneys to make a case as to why he should be released from jail before his jury trial begins.

For now, Wright will remain in federal custody, charged with one count of the use of fire or explosive to commit a felony offense, and one count of possessing an unregistered destructive device.

This case goes all the way back to early July of 2019.

That’s when Savannah Police and Fire responded to a vehicle fire near the intersection of Reynolds and Columbus.

The woman in the car, Wright’s ex-wife, was badly burned and had to be taken to the Augusta burn center.

She told police her car exploded, and witnesses also reported seeing the vehicle burst into flames after an explosion after stopping at a red light.

Two days later, local and federal police searched Wright’s home on East 66th Street. Police also conducted search warrants on Wright’s cell phone, his workplace and took his DNA samples for evidence.

Wright was arrested days later and booked into the Chatham County Detention Center on an aggravated battery charge.

As for Wright’s release request today, the Assistant U.S. Attorney prosecuting the case argued Wright is still a danger to his ex-wife and their children, as well as the community, and is still a flight risk, given his international ties and knowledge of the strength of the case the government has against him.

Barry Wright’s ex-wife and two children were in court today, offering up statements an attorney close to the family told WTOC basically echoed the prosecution’s argument as to why he should stay in custody until his trial.

Chatham Superior Court Judge Louisa Abbot took the stand first this morning. Judge Abbot says she first learned about the explosion that sent Wright’s ex-wife to the hospital from the ex’s divorce attorney, David Schachter. She said Shachter called her, extremely concerned for his client, her children and his own safety given the nature of what had just happened.

Judge Abbot said on the stand today that as she learned details of what happened to Wright’s ex-wife, that the incident seemed out of the norm.

Abbot says she carefully reviewed each page of the affidavit brought to her by an assisting investigator, Detective Jason Manley, and ultimately signed off on those warrants.

In the days following, police conducted search warrants on Wright’s home and workplace, finding cardboard cylinders that after tested, revealed traces of minerals and chemical compounds commonly found in boat flares.

A boat was also found at Wright’s home on East 66th Street.

Wright’s defense questioned the credibility and thoroughness of the investigation and search warrants that were obtained, asking for the evidence gathered from those warrants be suppressed and kept from consideration by a jury once the trial begins.

The judge said he’d consider both motions and make a ruling at a later date.