Fort Mill Times

Teenager:

FORT MILL TOWNSHIP -- Despite his conviction, the family of Steven Michael Eddington maintains he is innocent.

The 18-year-old was arrested along with his father Timothy Wayne Eddington, 35, cousin William Christopher Puckett, 19, and Edgar Scott Williams IV, also 19, on Aug. 23, 2007, at an abandoned house at 3175 Hwy. 21, following tips to Crimestoppers. Police and prosecutors said the four were about to set off pipe bombs at a Charlotte school as a distraction so they could rob a Founders Federal Credit Union branch on Westinghouse Boulevard.

Steven Eddington, who was convicted Jan. 31, was told sentencing would occur within 90 days. A former student at Fort Mill High School, he faces a minimum of 40 years in a federal prison. No date has been set for the sentencing hearing, according to federal court employees.

Sherry Wilson, Steven Eddington's mother and the ex-wife of Timothy Eddington, said her son's role, and those of the other teens, was overblown by prosecutors. She and one of her daughters made several calls to Crimestoppers in the weeks leading up to the arrests trying to stop what she said was Timothy Eddington's plan.

"The day before it was going to happen, I picked Steven up and he told me, 'if somebody doesn't do something to stop Daddy, it's going to be breaking news tomorrow,'" Wilson said.

Following calls to York County Sheriff's Officers and Crimestoppers on the evening of Aug. 22, Wilson said two sheriff's deputies woke her at 2:30 a.m. to identify the house where the four were staying.

Wilson said Timothy Eddington, who was convicted of conspiracy and other charges in January, had scared Steven and the other two teens into going along with his plan by threatening them and Wilson's family. But if Steven hadn't given her and her daughters details of the plan, they wouldn't have been able to inform the sheriff's office.

"That's why he pled innocent," Wilson said. "He tried to stop it."

Steven's father testified that he forced his son to participate, according a statement released by the U.S. Attorney's Office.

However, prosecutors disagreed. So did Puckett and Williams in open court, when during Steven Eddington's trial, they said he was a willing accomplice in the plot. Both also pleaded guilty to their roles last year.

Despite his father's testimony, Steven Eddington was convicted of conspiracy to rob a bank, possession of explosive devices in furtherance of the conspiracy, carrying explosive devices, and failure to register explosive devices.

Wilson said she never got to tell her side of the story, and now she worries her son will spend the rest of his life in prison. Steven Eddington's attorney, Herb Louthian, declined to speak about the case because Eddington has not been sentenced. He also plans an appeal, he said.

Eddington, who grew up in Fort Mill and, according to his mother, attended Fort Mill Church of God, has been in jail in Lexington County since his arrest.

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