Alamance jailbreak bomb plot foiled by mis-mailed letter

December 15, 2018
Left to right, Sean Damion Castorina, Dakota Lee Marek and Shannon Douglas Gurkin

A plan to bomb the Alamance County jail was thwarted after a letter detailing the plot was mailed to the wrong person, authorities said Friday.

Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson said Sean Damion Castorina, who is already in jail facing charges in an August 2017 homicide, was the mastermind behind the foiled plot.

Castorina, 43, conspired with Shannon Douglas Gurkin and Dakota Lee Marek, who were both out of jail at the time, to help him blow up the south wall of the jail.

“With where the bomb was supposed to be planted, some administration could have been hurt, along with other inmates,” Johnson said.

Castorina called Gurkin and Marek and told them what materials to buy, how to build the bomb and where to plant it, the sheriff said. The plan was to help Castorina escape and then leave the country, he said.

A letter with a detailed drawing describing the plan and instructions on making the bomb was mailed on Dec. 6 to the wrong person, however, and the recipient turned the information over to law enforcement.

“Certainly, that letter was an important factor in going wide open on this investigation,” Johnson said.

All three men were arrested Thursday and are being held under $1 million bonds in the same jail they planned to blow up.

Castorina faces four counts of felony conspiracy, two counts of manufacturing or assembling a weapon of mass destruction and one count of attempted escape from jail.

Gurkin, 23, of 1038 Sycamore Road in Graham, and Marek, 24, of 1912 Belmont St. in Burlington, were charged with malicious use of an explosive device to damage property.

“I am very thankful because we could have certainly lost inmates,” Johnson said. “We could have certainly lost employees here, and certainly could have lost other county employees in surrounding buildings. I am very thankful for that individual [who received the letter].”

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