May 20, 2011 in City, News

Judge delays Harpham trial to August

 

MLK bomb suspect Kevin Harpham’s booking photo from the U.S. Marshals Service.
(Full-size photo)

The trial of domestic terrorism suspect Kevin W. Harpham was delayed today from May 31 to Aug. 22 following a request for more time from defense attorneys.

Kim Deater, of Federal Defenders of Eastern Washington and Idaho, asked for the delay to prepare a defense for Harpham, who faces several felony charges in connection to a bomb found Jan. 17 along the planned route of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Unity March.

U.S. District Judge Justin Quackenbush reluctantly agreed, moving the trial to August.

Records detailing the evidence that federal investigators have against Harpham have remained sealed under Quackenbush’s order, but Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Rice did reveal Friday that laboratory testing is currently being done on “tool marks.” Rice said those reports should be available to the defense by June 1.

Deater said defense attorneys need time to have their experts go over that tool mark evidence.

“We are working at a frantic pace. We would ask for two months to file our motions,” Deater said.

She explained that defense attorneys may need more time to file motions challenging the expertise and conclusions from prosecution experts. They also need time for their own experts to review the evidence and come up with their own conclusions.

Harpham faces up to life in prison for four felony charges, including targeting minorities with a home-made bomb that was discovered in a black backpack at the northeast corner Main Avenue and Washington Street. Released documents indicated the bomb had a welded blast plate and shrapnel laced with rat poison, with the apparent intent of causing wounds to bleed more.

Rice said he expects federal prosecutors to take seven to eight trial days to present the evidence against Harpham.

Quackenbush, who noted he has a reputation of not granting delays, set the trial date for Aug. 22.

“This is the last continuance I am going to grant in this case,” he said.

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