September 6, 2011 in City

Harpham’s lawyers to announce plea change Wednesday


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Domestic terrorism suspect Kevin W. Harpham, accused of building and planting the backpack bomb along the route of Spokane’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Unity March, is expected to accept a plea bargain Wednesday.

Harpham is scheduled for a change of plea hearing tomorrow morning in U.S. District Court. He previously had pleaded innocent to the charges and his trial was scheduled to begin Monday.

“Implicit in that, there is an agreement between the government and the defendant,” a U.S. Justice Department official told The Spokesman-Review. “You don’t schedule a hearing until there is an agreement between the parties.”

The official would not comment beyond that.

U.S. Defender Roger Peven was not immediately available for comment.

Harpham, 37, is charged with committing a hate crime, using a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and unauthorized possession of an unregistered explosive device. He’s being held without bail at the Spokane County Jail.

The hate crime charge alleges Harpham targeted the MLK Unity March in downtown Spokane on Jan. 17 “because of actual or perceived race, color and national origin of any person.”

He faces 30 years to life in prison if convicted.

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