ST. LOUIS -- A one-time Missouri political operative was sentenced to 20 years in prison Wednesday for planting a bomb that exploded in a St. Louis County parking garage that severely injured a lawyer.
Milton “Skip” Ohlsen III, 41, was sentenced in U.S. District Court. He pleaded guilty in September to four charges related to the 2008 bombing.
Ohlsen concealed the bomb in a gift basket on Oct. 15, 2008, and placed the basket near an Acura TL inside the garage in Clayton. Investigators said Ohlsen believed the car belonged to attorney Richard Eisen, who had represented Ohlsen’s former wife in a divorce and custody case.
In fact, the car belonged to another lawyer, John Gillis, who suffered permanent injuries when he moved the basket away from the driver’s door.
The blast was so strong it shook buildings in Clayton, including those near St. Louis County’s government offices. Several buildings were evacuated, including the Ritz Carlton Hotel.
Ohlsen was a key figure in an election conspiracy case that resulted in federal charges and the resignations of state Sen. Jeff Smith of St. Louis and state Rep. Steve Brown of Clayton, both Democrats.
Smith ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2004. His campaign authorized Ohlsen to circulate negative mailers aimed at Smith’s opponent, Democrat Russ Carnahan, who went on to win the election. Federal prosecutors later seized a recording by Ohlsen in which Brown urged Ohlsen to lie to the Federal Election Commission about the campaign’s role.
In 2009, Smith pleaded guilty and went to prison, and Brown pleaded guilty and was placed on probation.
Ohlsen was not charged in that case but previously served time in federal prison on gun possession and mortgage fraud convictions, and in state prison for assault, theft and weapons convictions.
Associated Press contributed to this report.