GAINESVILLE, Ga. – A judge gave Celia Savage a break in February when he sentenced her to probation after federal authorities found pipe bombs and guns in her home during a raid. He warned her not to make him look like a fool.
Less than six months later, Savage, 25, was arrested on drug charges, and on Friday she appeared before U.S. District Judge Richard Story again. He told her he was disappointed but still sees potential in her as he sentenced her to three years in prison.
"The reality is, I'm actually putting some confidence in you again because if I were giving up on you, I'd just lock you up for as long as I can," Story told her.
Federal agents raided Savage's north Georgia home in May 2012 and found two pipe bombs and a number of guns, as well as drug paraphernalia and what they believed was marijuana, methamphetamine and numerous pills, according to court documents. She told agents she had smoked pot the day before and had used meth two months before.
When federal agents asked her what there is to do in the part of north Georgia where she lives, she said, "Blow things up," according to a sworn statement by a federal agent.
At her February hearing, she apologized and told the judge she never meant to hurt anyone.
"I feel better about myself and I am a happy person, and I would like to continue that. Please don't take me away," she said, sobbing.
Her lawyer, Jeffrey Ertel, said Savage had had a difficult life and suffered from mental illness. She detonated bombs in a remote location as a form of release for her anger and frustration, and she never intended to hurt anyone, Ertel said then.
Story told her the decision to give her a second chance was difficult.
"This may be the worst decision I've ever made, and you may make me look like an absolute fool, but I'm going to give you a chance," he said, sentencing her to six years on probation.
On Aug. 9, Savage went to a tattoo parlor and became hostile when she realized the owner of the business was one of the narcotics agents involved in her federal case, according to a report by her parole officers. She left when asked but came back later intoxicated and demanded service. When she was denied, she intentionally destroyed a glass table, the officers wrote.
She also drove her car drunk that night, and police found methamphetamine and prescription pills marked for sale in her car, the officers wrote.
On Friday, Savage cried as she apologized to the judge.
"I just wasn't strong enough, and for that I'm sorry," she said, explaining that her alcoholism and lack of self-control got the best of her.
"I took so many things, including the chance you gave me, for granted," she said.
Story gave her three years in prison, followed by three years supervised release with the first year in a halfway house. He said he hopes that gives her enough time to get her problems under control.
"Yes, I'm very disappointed. I'm very sad," he said. "But I refuse to give up hope."