Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Plea deal reached in MLK bomb trial

Posted on Wed, Sep 7, 2011 at 10:40 AM

Kevin Harpham, the man accused of planting a bomb in downtown Spokane during this year's Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade, will spend between 27 and 32 years in prison under a plea agreement reached on Wednesday by U.S. attorneys and Harpham's lawyers.

Harpham appeared in U.S. District Court in Spokane this morning to plead guilty to two charges: attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and attempt to cause bodily injury with an explosive device because of actual or perceived race, color or national origin of any person.

U.S. Attorney for Eastern Washington Michael Ormsby says two other charges against Harpham are expected to be dropped.

The plea deal is contingent on acceptance by Judge Justin Quackenbush.

Ormsby says he chose to accept the plea agreement in order to bring closure to a case that could have dragged on into appeals even if Harpham had been convicted.

"We had a lot of evidence but trials are a risky thing," Ormsby says. "We think this is a fair sentence."

Harpham, dressed in a white prison uniform during his court appearance, says he had spent about a month building the pipe bomb that would have rained poison-covered fishing weights across marchers in Spokane's Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade on Jan. 17.

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