A Clarkston resident who almost killed himself in an explosion three years ago was sentenced today to 12.5 years in federal prison for making a bomb and attempting to supply terrorists with bomb-making instructions.
In September, 23-year-old Joseph J. Brice pleaded guilty to charges of manufacturing an explosive device and attempting to provide material assistance to terrorists. He will get credit for two-plus years he has already spent behind bars.
The investigation began after Brice almost died three years ago. His family called it a pipe-bomb experiment gone wrong, but federal prosecutors said it was a copy of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh’s chemical bomb that killed 168 people.
As the investigation unfolded, investigators found Brice had created and posted several videos on YouTube that honored Islamic Jihadists along with tribute videos to McVeigh. They also found websites where he had shared bomb-making recipes.
An undercover FBI agent sent Brice a private message through a website asking if he “wanted to be part of the cause” and help Islamic fundamentalists create a bomb to attack Americans. The government said he agreed and provided significant, advanced bomb-making information.
Brice spoke at his sentencing, saying he deeply regretted his actions and that they were the result of a deep depression after his near-fatal injuries.
U.S. District Court Judge Lonny Suko said the government established Brice’s online activities started years before his accident and were indicative of dangerous behavior.
Although not part of the charges, prosectors provided evidence that Brice had plotted to plant a chemical bomb outside the Spokane Federal Building as well as rob a bank.
Brice’s attorney, Matthew Campbell, said the plots were just jokes and the result of poor decisions, not actual intent to harm anyone.
FBI Senior Agent Frank Harrill said the case was the first of its kind in Spokane and is “exceedingly rare on a national scale.” No one had ever been convicted in Eastern Washington for trying to supply technical expertise to terrorists.
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