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Father of bomb suspect says son couldn’t have planted device

Mon., March 14, 2011, midnight

The father of the man arrested in connection with a bomb discovered at Spokane’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day march claims his son was caring for him throughout January and couldn’t have planted the explosive device.

Cecil “Bill” Harpham, 68, told Spokane TV stations KREM and KXLY that Kevin W. Harpham, 36, was with him Jan. 17 when the backpack bomb was discovered.“I know he didn’t go plant it because he was with me,” said Harpham, who has twice declined interviews with The Spokesman-Review.

In a weekend phone call with the newspaper, Harpham criticized coverage of his son’s arrest: “I’ve read the lies … and I have nothing to say.”

Kevin Harpham was arrested Wednesday near his home south of Colville and is in custody at the Spokane County Jail. He could face life in prison if convicted on federal charges of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and possession of an unregistered explosive device.

Harpham, a farmer, told KXLY that investigators seized screwdrivers, screws and rat poison from his home. The backpack bomb discovered Jan. 17 contained rat poison.

Harpham told the TV stations that his son, who he acknowledged has racist views, may have been involved in building the bomb but said “if anything it was a really cruel joke.”

Harpham said his son didn’t meet with other racists but regularly chatted with them online.

One of those men, Glenn Miller of Missouri, has told The Spokesman-Review that Harpham was framed by the federal government.

The suspect posted more than 1,000 messages on the white supremacist message board Vanguard News Network, which he joined in November 2004.

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