The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

March 6, 2013

Sheriff: Man spent weeks planning hostage ordeal



DOTHAN, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama sheriff says a man accused of killing a school bus driver and taking a child hostage in an underground bunker had spent weeks carefully planning the crimes.

Dale County Sheriff Wally Olson says Jimmy Lee Dykes befriended bus driver Charles Poland weeks before gunning him down on Jan. 29 near Midland City.

The Dothan Eagle reports (http://bit.ly/ZbqmPA) that the sheriff described the ordeal during a Tuesday meeting of the Kiwanis Club of Dothan.

Olson said a PVC pipe leading to the shelter contained an improvised explosive device, as did the bunker itself. Olson said Dykes "could've detonated it at any time."

Authorities say Dykes held 5-year-old Ethan Gilman for six days until law officers stormed the underground structure on Feb. 4, killing Dykes and rescuing the child, now 6.

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