MLK bomb was planned to injure, suspect says in guilty plea

Sep 7, 2011

SPOKANE, Wash. - The man accused of attempting to bomb the Martin Luther King Day parade in Spokane admits that he constructed and planted the explosive with the intent to hurt parade participants. That admission came with the guilty plea entered Wednesday by 37-year-old Kevin Harpham.

Kevin Harpham pleaded guilty to attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and committing a federal hate crime. He could serve between 27 and 32 years in prison under the agreement his attorneys reached with the federal government. Harpham would live out the rest of his life under supervision.

A conviction on all charges could have landed Harpham in prison for life. After the hearing, U.S. Attorney Michael Ormsby told reporters he thought there was enough evidence to convict Harpham, but said trials are always a gamble.

“We believe that we obtained a fair resolution. Mr. Harpham has, the range he could do in jail time, is very very significant. But I think more to the point is this gives our community the opportunity to begin closure,” Ormsby said.

A federal judge still must approve the deal and determine Harpham's final sentence. The judge appointed a U.S. probation officer to talk with Harpham about his motivation and prepare a report to help the judge make that decision.

Copyright 2011 Northwest News Network