Missouri men Terrell Cooks, Seneca Mahan charged in black-market fireworks explosion that killed 4


Two Missouri men are facing murder charges after a home near St. Louis exploded Friday, killing four people – including three teens – who were assembling black-market fireworks in a garage. 

Terrell Cooks, 37, and Seneca Mahan, 43, are each charged with three counts of second-degree murder and several other charges in Friday’s explosion near Black Jack, about a 30-minute drive north of St. Louis. They were charged before a fourth victim died Saturday.

St. Louis County prosecutors say Cooks and Mahan made fireworks and directed younger people on how to load the canisters and attach a fuse for lighting. They would then sell the fireworks to others, despite neither having a license to make or sell fireworks.  

Investigators have been identified as Travell Eason, 16; Christopher Jones, 17; Damario Cooks, 18; and William Jones, 21. 

Friday’s powerful blast shook other homes and blew out neighbors’ windows. Authorities said a 12-year-old child was also injured in the explosion, but the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that police could not provide details Sunday about how many others were still hospitalized.

Court documents say Cooks admitted that he and Mahan made explosive devices designed to make a loud bang and bright flash. Investigators saw Cooks moving boxes of chemicals used to make explosives to his vehicle after Friday’s explosion, and they found large quantities of “completed explosive weapons and components to manufacture them” when they searched a home and other vehicles connected to Cooks. 

The blast was so powerful it shook other homes and blew out neighbors' windows.
The blast was so powerful it shook other homes and blew out neighbors’ windows.
Christian Gooden/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP

Cooks and Martin are being held on a $350,000 cash-only bond. It wasn’t immediately clear if they had retained attorneys who could speak on their behalf. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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