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Judge Lectures MLK Day Bomber, Gives Maximum 32-Year Sentence

By Bill Morlin on December 20, 2011 - 4:34 pm, Posted in Anti-Black

Saying Kevin W. Harpham hasn’t accepted responsibility for planting a potentially deadly bomb along the route of a Martin Luther King Jr. Day unity march in Spokane, Wash., a federal judge on Tuesday sentenced the white supremacist to 32 years in prison.

“I’m distressed that you’re not the least bit apologetic or accepted responsibility,” U.S. District Judge Justin Quackenbush told the 37-year-old racist bomb builder. “Kevin Harpham,” the judge continued, “you’ve made a terrible mistake by letting your racist prejudices control your actions.”

The federal judge handed down the 32-year prison term after Harpham attempted to withdraw two guilty pleas he entered in September as part of a plea deal to avoid spending his entire life in prison. Under the deal, he faced a sentencing range of 27 to 32 years, and the judge gave him the maximum.

Harpham – a former U.S. Army ordnance technician, a card-carrying member of the neo-Nazi National Alliance and jailhouse pen pal of former Klan leader Glenn Miller – pleaded guilty to attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and placing that bomb to carry out a hate crime. The case was only the third time the U.S. Department of Justice has filed a federal hate crime charge under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hates Crimes Prevention Act enacted by Congress in October 2009.

After getting sentencing delayed on Nov. 30, Harpham’s federal defender, Roger Peven, told the court on Tuesday that a newly located defense expert believes that the device Harpham built doesn’t meet the legal definition of an “explosive bomb” as he was charged in a grand jury indictment. The defense attorney said he was making an oral motion to allow Harpham to withdraw his two guilty pleas.

The judge listened to the defense arguments, then rejected the last-minute request that would have sent the case to a jury trial next year. Quackenbush said Harpham’s two guilty pleas to avoid life in prison were entered “knowingly and intelligently” and there had been no prior defense “challenges to whether this was an explosive device.”

The judge said federal appeals courts have held that a new expert opinion, developed after the filing of guilty pleas, doesn’t constitute new evidence that would warrant withdrawal of guilty pleas and sending the case to trial.

“I don’t see a basis … at this late date to tell us this was not a bomb,’’ Quackenbush said.

Addressing the court, Harpham later again admitted placing a backpack containing the cannon-like explosive device he built – packed with fishing weights dipped in rat poison to enhance victims’ bleeding – on the route of the Jan. 17 MLK “unity march” in downtown Spokane involving 2,000 participants.

Harpham was in the march, the FBI would later learn, taking pictures of himself and others of a Jewish man and young black children, who investigators said were his intended targets. He planned to set off the device with a remote car starter, with a 1,000 foot range, but police re-routed the march after the suspicious backpack was discovered and later rendered safe by a bomb squad.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Harrington said the improvised explosive device, which met the definition of a “weapon of mass destruction,” was made out of 6-inch steel pipe with a 3-inch bore hole. The steel pipe was welded to a steel base plate, similar to a mortar tube. A model rocket igniter, hooked to two 6-volt lantern batteries, was packed with 100 grams of black powder inside the steel pipe, surrounded by 128 fishing weights dipped in brodifacoum, an anticoagulant and an active ingredient in rat poisons.

“I just want to say that all the evidence … was stacked up against me,” Harpham told the court. “I am not guilty of the act that I pleaded guilty to. I only did so as a hedge.”

Harpham said “when I built this device” he had another intended target, but he didn’t elaborate. “If I was going to hurt a bunch of random people I wouldn’t have placed it outdoors,’’ but rather put it in a crowded building, he said. “Although, I’ll admit it wasn’t exactly legal, either.”

The judge said it was “beyond comprehension” that Harpham was now trying to withdraw his guilty pleas and still refusing to accept responsibility. The judge asked the defendant about his alternative plan.

“As crazy as it sounds,” Harpham said, he intended to place his explosive device in a position to blow the window out of an eyeglass clinic on the parade route and frighten marchers after they passed the location. It would be his way of protesting the “unity and multicultural” theme of the MLK celebration, he said, similar to the way conservative Christians protest gay marriage.

“I would just be making a statement that there are people out there who don’t agree with these ideas,” Harpham told the court.

The judge then asked Harpham about his longstanding involvement with racists, including white supremacists and separatists, and if it started while he was in the Army, when he was caught with a swastika flag in his barracks.

“No, it was a Salvadorian flag,” Harpham responded. But he didn’t respond when the judge asked about another incident in the Army when he was watching a racist demonstration in Washington, D.C., and discussing the Turner Diaries, a novel about a race war in the United States.

“At this stage, for whatever reason it may be, Mr. Harpham, you have not seemed to have accepted responsibility for what you’ve done,” the judge said.

“It is not ‘us-versus-them.’ It’s us, regardless of our skin color, regardless of our religious views, regardless of our cultural differences.

“I hope that in the years ahead, in the next months, maybe years, you’ll pause and reflect that we’re all inhabitants of this one planet, and, yes, we have disagreements.”

  • Peter Hockley

    Ruslan Amirkhanov, I absolutely agree with every word you have written in your comment of the 22/12/2012. I would like to draw your attention to this website that restates your comments!
    Stay Free

    http://lifeafterhate.org/

  • BasicallyAngelic

    Ruslan Amirkhanov said,

    on December 20th, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    “I just want to say that all the evidence … was stacked up against me,” Harpham told the court. “I am not guilty of the act that I pleaded guilty to. I only did so as a hedge.”

    Harpham said “when I built this device” he had another intended target, but he didn’t elaborate. “If I was going to hurt a bunch of random people I wouldn’t have placed it outdoors,’’ but rather put it in a crowded building, he said. “Although, I’ll admit it wasn’t exactly legal, either.”

    Typical WN moron. Yeah, he wanted to break a window. That’s why he filled the bomb with fishing weights covered in rat poison.

    “I would just be making a statement that there are people out there who don’t agree with these ideas,” Harpham told the court.”

    Too much of a coward to make that statement openly, apparently.

    Oh and I find it hard to believe this: http://www.fotw.net/images/s/sv.gif could be mistaken for a Nazi flag. Strange that the man who is so opposed to “multiculturalism” had such an affinity for El Salvador.

    Seriously, these people are like children

    Your children have tons of bomb knowledge? And openly stating that the back back was “out in the open” isn’t open enough? How much more “open” do you want? *LOL* sorry, but it strikes me as a very “open” crime.

  • Kiwiwriter

    Nothing, Linnea….Ruslan is a Marxist, he’s said so. While I applaud and respect his work, I just disagree with Marxism.

  • Linnea

    Kiwiwriter: I’m confused now. What does Marxism have to do with anything?

  • Kiwiwriter

    Very well put, Ruslan. I enjoy reading your work on this site, even though I’m not a Marxist. You seem to have made an amazing transformation in your life.

  • Door Gunner

    This is no more insidious than what some businesses vs businesses do to each other everyday in the marketplace, yes they even Murder…

    …none of this is going to change until we eliminate the “Currency System”. Guys like the one highlighted in this article are simply copycat killers who have been fooled into believing that separatism is about something other than MONEY.

    Support ending the Currency System and freeing up mankind’s time from the tedious task of Repetition.

    Lets all enjoy life… we all only get 80 years or so you know. We have the technology now… lets join together… and Make It Happen.

    Stop these “Fat Cats” from playing games with our lives.

    That’s the problem… the FAT CATS. They control everything, even our own actions through manipulation.

  • Lone Wolf

    Well put Ruslan:

    They need information to be educated or at least that opportunity.. to chose to do so..my friend Floyd Cochran is a good example of information from a fellow Neo-Nazi, that was an eye opener , for him. When he was told by Carl Franklin that due to his son’s physical deformity..he would be one of the first to go when they came to power, Floyd was ready to move on…quickly! I guess when it hits them right between the ears and then the heart, conversion is possible…like you said, people do have the capacity to change and some are truly tired and sick of hating others…being available to offer an alternative is not easy but well worth the effort. Insults and petty talk won’t influence anyone, to attempt a change..hate for hate never seems to produce anything positive…let’s not lower our standards, to get our message across, since there is a much bigger audience out there, than we realize…,

  • http://www.twitter.com/AronL, Aron

    Ruslan,

    You make a very good point. So good, in fact, that I will now refrain from taunting ‘More…’ no matter how much he/she/it deserves it.

    Though I get the distinct feeling they might be a lost cause as well…

  • krissy

    We are so lucky that the device was found before it hurt somebody. The violence that ideologies like this inspire are just unspeakable.

  • kate

    Rusian:

    If you want to convert those people that’s fine, my feeling is, after dealing with many people over the years that unless there is some life-changing occurrence coupled with a high intelligence, most people don’t change very much. Maybe in degrees, but to do a complete 180 in my mind, is expecting too much.

    All we can do is continue to force the discussion that frames racism in the most unacceptable terms possible and demonstrate non-racism and fail to condone it at all.

    People are more moved by the demonstration of example than they ever are by anyone’s direct efforts to move them.

    As for Harpham, I think he’s a just another sociopath that found a good excuse. The time to save someone like him was when he was a child.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Harpham was obviously too far gone, but people shouldn’t write off all WNs as irredeemable. People do change, and it is our responsibility to help them do so. When joining the movement, individuals become isolated and trapped in an echo chamber.

    Take for example, that fighter against “white genocide” who pops in here from time to time under the name “More of the same.” He or she spouts off typical accusations which are commonly discussed on Stormfront, VNN, or in countless other WN forums. According to them, we hate white people, those of us who are white feel guilty about being white, someone(they won’t tell us who) is “flooding” white countries with non-whites, they are forcing whites to assimilate, etc. These people really believe that is happening, because they end up walling themselves off from reality along with other WNs. When they show up here and fire off such claims, most people just smack them down, rather than asking them for evidence and providing counter-evidence. It doesn’t always work, but I find that when someone is made aware that they never bothered to get the most basic information about a subject they are obsessed with(e.g. immigration laws or immigration around the world), a certain number will take notice. They think: “Hmm…How can I spend so much time whining about immigration when I don’t even know what the laws of immigration are in my country, or any country for that matter? Maybe I need to read something other than Stormfront.”

    This is part of the reason I show up on here, not just to troll the racists or smack them down and make fun of them. I’m trying to plant a seed that makes them consider things from another perspective. White Nationalism is like a cult, and their enemies are basically strawmen who they have defined themselves. When they actually interact with that enemy, two things can happen. We can toss insults back and forth and they storm on back to their WN forums talking about how the evil leftists can’t do anything but label them, or we can have a dialog, and maybe they’ll realize that they don’t really know so much about the world, and that they ought to find out. I don’t hate them, I feel sorry for them, because they are in most cases victims of alienation, and they are letting that alienation manifest in one particular way. The WN movement takes control of their life. It determines who they talk to, it breaks up families and friends, it brings people into contact with dangerous thugs, it wastes their time, it takes their money, it ruins their reputations, it determines what music they listen to, what movies they can enjoy, in short- it consumes their whole lives. Anyone who has spent time in person with WNs knows that they are above all, fearful and very angry people.

    Being stuck in the WN movement holds a person back in a variety of ways, especially the younger people. That’s why we can’t just label them or throw a few insults and move on. If we save one young person from ruining their life via the movement, it is worth the time and energy.

  • Matt

    I can’t think of anything more mortifying than spending every minute of every waking hour for thirty years in which to contemplate what an idiot you are.

  • Hoss

    Send to him to camp X-Ray in Cuba, Cuba an Afro-Carribean nation, alleged Arab Ismalic Terrorists, and hotter than hell. No doubt that he will find any new recruits there.

  • Tom Frazee

    The degree of ignorance and brainwashing of Americans and other nationalities is astounding; just after talking with a gay man who, comfortably, commented on “the nig… In the White House”. Especially, because he’s a member of a group that is hated as equally as afro-Americans. Saudí Arabia just executed a witch; 1669 Salem, Massachusetts, and we still provide them with W.M.D.’s and probably still sending them to Egypt’s fascist, murdering, military. The internet has bought many good hearted and minded people together, but, we’ll have to get tighter to Overcome all these injustices. We shouldn’t have allowed Troy Davis to be Lynched and we shouldn’t accept Bradley Manning outragious treatment to continúe. World unity, it’s time.

  • Mitch Beales

    Aron I understand your anger and desire for retribution but I want to point out that conditions in US “supermax” prisons constitute torture under most international definitions. Such punishments have not deterred racists anymore than they have murderers, thieves, drug dealers, or crooked politicians.

  • MST

    @Lone Wolf — well, I’ll definitely cross those areas off my bucket list!

  • Todd

    I wish the judge had pointed out: “This is terrorism”.

    Just because its white folks, of a different superstition than Islam, doesn’t make it any less terrorism.

    I hope this guy gets locked up with lots of folks of the races and creeds that he hates, and that a guard “slips up” and lets them know why the guy is there. :-)

  • http://www.historycommons.org Michael Tuck

    Excellent article. SPLC’s coverage of Harpham, and the larger scope of domestic terrorism in the US, has been essential to our coverage of the topic at the History Commons. We covered Harpham’s bombing and trial, and this article will be a key part of our coverage of his sentencing.

  • Reynardine

    Ruslan, I worked a year and a half in a lockward for nuts kids. Our hardest cases didn’t remotely resemble this guy.

  • James Hutchings

    No doubt they’ll simultaneously praise him for doing it, and claim he was innocent.

  • Lone Wolf

    To the west of us, Northeastern Washington has a history of violent white supremacists, who have lived and worked there i.e. Robert Mathews, Chevie and Cheyne Kehoe, Kevin Harpham, and a few other notables like Debbie Mathews’ of Metaline Falls, last husband and the Kehoe associate who kidnapped the Friedmans’ of Colville and killed a young skin that he didn’t trust and buried in the woods south of Sandpoint. He is serving a life term in Boise…

    These are not children and they do have the capacity to learn. Multiculturalism, unity, and the value of diverse populations is more than frowned upon in Northeastern Washington, Northern Idaho, and Western Montana…just look at the bulk of elected public officials, who have the John Birch Society stamp of approval..most of these extremist groups fall under their umbrella..embedded you might say ..from the mainstream right to the ultra-right..which helps to conceal the “true believers’ like Harpham, the Kehoes, and Robert Mathews…who began as a member of the J.B.S. The solution to this historical and hazardous situation…many don’t see a need to change their view of a world, because they are ignorant and indifferent to anything that would make them uncomfortable, like progress or the 1960′s…

  • http://www.twitter.com/AronL Aron

    Ruslan,

    I must disagree with you there. Most children possess the capacity to learn.

    These WNs do not.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    “I just want to say that all the evidence … was stacked up against me,” Harpham told the court. “I am not guilty of the act that I pleaded guilty to. I only did so as a hedge.”

    Harpham said “when I built this device” he had another intended target, but he didn’t elaborate. “If I was going to hurt a bunch of random people I wouldn’t have placed it outdoors,’’ but rather put it in a crowded building, he said. “Although, I’ll admit it wasn’t exactly legal, either.”

    Typical WN moron. Yeah, he wanted to break a window. That’s why he filled the bomb with fishing weights covered in rat poison.

    “I would just be making a statement that there are people out there who don’t agree with these ideas,” Harpham told the court.”

    Too much of a coward to make that statement openly, apparently.

    Oh and I find it hard to believe this: http://www.fotw.net/images/s/sv.gif could be mistaken for a Nazi flag. Strange that the man who is so opposed to “multiculturalism” had such an affinity for El Salvador.

    Seriously, these people are like children.

  • http://www.twitter.com/AronL Aron

    Sadly, I am willing to bet Harpham is going to become quite a celebrity among a certain, sizable portion of his fellow prisoners…

    I say lock him up in Super Max in Florence, CO.