Palestine Man Faces Explosives Charges

A Palestine man faces federal charges for possessing an explosive device. He'll likely face more charges for participating in an alleged murder-for-hire plot.

Tom Lee Golightly, Jr., 44, is in the Smith County Jail. He was arrested Thursday afternoon in Tyler in the Target parking lot, as the result of an undercover operation.

It all started when an undercover agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATFE) allegedly received a bomb from Golightly. Later, Golightly allegedly offered to make the ATF undercover agent another bomb and plant it for him, if he wanted to kill someone. Officials say the two agreed to meet at Target yesterday to finalize the $1600 murder-for-hire plan.

That's when Tyler police and firefighters, along with FBI and ATFE agents surrounded him and took him into custody. They searched his car and found drug paraphernalia and materials that could be used to make bombs.

If convicted, Golightly could face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

A detention hearing is set for next Wednesday in federal court. Smith County D.A. Matt Bingham says more charges are likely on the way, including attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

Julie Tam, reporting.