FRANKLIN, Tenn. — The man accused of placing a pipe bomb in an employee’s car outside a suburban Nashville nursing home was trying to kill his estranged wife, federal investigators said.

Authorities said GPS data from 41-year-old Mitchell Oakes’ cellphone shows he was in the parking lot outside the NHC Cool Springs facility in Franklin when a bomb was planted early Saturday in his wife’s vehicle, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported (, citing court records.

The woman, who was identified only as “AO,” noticed the device a few hours later after finishing her shift at the nursing home. Attached to the inside of the driver’s door, investigators found a black metal pipe containing explosive material and screws. They photographed the device and then safely detonated it after NHC staff moved patients and employees to the farthest parts of the building.

Oakes was arrested Sunday on a first-degree attempted murder charge. He now faces federal charges that he made and planted the bomb, as well as a charge of being a felon in possession of an explosive device.

Oakes was convicted in 2007 for solicitation of second-degree murder in a 2004 killing, said Robert Reburn with the Tennessee Department of Correction.

Oakes kept firearms, black powder and reloading equipment at his parents’ home, ATF Special Agent Nerissa Dixon said in an affidavit.

It’s unclear whether Oakes has an attorney.

This story has been corrected to show that investigators believe the bomb was planted early Saturday, not late Friday.

Information from: Chattanooga Times Free Press,

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