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Deputies were prepared for the worst as they stood by in a Spokane County courtroom earlier this month during routine hearings for mostly low-level felonies.
Their focus was on one of the more benign cases – possession and distribution of marijuana.
But it wasn’t the nature of the allegations that got their attention. It was the defendant, a self-proclaimed “sovereign” who doesn’t consider himself a citizen of the United States even though he was born and raised here.
Adrian B. Shannon, 30, is among a growing number of people who question the legitimacy of federal, state and local government agencies and employ a series of legal maneuvers they believe exempt them from driver’s licenses and birth certificates, paying taxes, or even criminal charges.
“People call it a movement, but it’s individuals, literally sovereigns, that are all learning, ‘Hey we don’t have to put up with these ridiculous laws, because we are the government,’ ” Shannon said.
UPDATE: Harpham's arraignment was moved to Monday.
Kevin William Harpham is to be arraigned on a hate crime charge in U.S. District Court today at 1:30 p.m.
A grand jury indicted the Martin Luther King, Jr. march bomb suspect Thursday.
Harpham, who has been in the Spokane County Jail since his arrest March 9, already has pleaded not guilty to attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and unauthorized possession of an unregistered explosive device.
The superseding indictment includes those charges, as well as the hate crime and a charge of use of a firearm (the bomb) in relation to a crime of violence (the hate crime).
The hate crime charge alleges Harpham, who recently turned 37, targeted the march “because of actual or perceived race, color and national origin of any person.”
Harpham faces up to life in prison if convicted.
His father, Cecil Harpham, has told The Spokesman-Review that his son was with him Jan. 17, the day the backpack bomb was discovered along the planned march route.
Federal authorities want to block the unsealing of court records related to the arrest of domestic terrorism suspect Kevin W. Harpham.
In a 13-page response Wednesday to a request by The Spokesman-Review, with support from The Seattle Times and The Associated Press, Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe Harrington argued against unsealing the documents, citing an ongoing investigation and concerns about pre-trial publicity.
“It is well settled that there are qualified common law and Constitutional rights of access to judicial documents,” Harrington wrote. “The right, however, is not absolute … and the public can be properly denied access if there are compelling reasons for keeping records sealed.”
The Spokane County Sheriff's Office has released booking photos of Martin Luther King, Jr., bomb suspect Kevin William Harpham.
Capt. John McGrath emailed the photos to mediaThursday night in response to public records requests. The photos show Harpham, 36, after he was booked into the Spokane County Jail on March 9. He was arrested that morning near his property north of Addy, Wash. A second set of photos from the U.S. Marshals Service has not been released.
Harpham has pleaded not guilty to a federal indictment charging him with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and unauthorized possession of an unregistered explosive device and is being held without bail. He faces up to life in prison if convicted.
Harpham's father, Cecil Harpham, told The Spokesman-Review that his son was with him the day the backpack bomb was discovered along the panned route of the Unity March on Martin Luther King, Jr., Day in downtown Spokane.
Federal investigators say the device was capable of inflicting mass causalities and have called it an act of domestic terrorism.
Kevin Harpham has posted more than 1,000 comments on the racist website Vanguard News Network under the name “Joe Snuffy.”
The father of domestic terrorism suspect Kevin W. Harpham said he believes his son was set up by someone wanting to pocket the big reward posted by the FBI.
“They put out a reward for $20,000, and one of his slimy friends turned him in for the money,” Cecil Harpham, 68, of Kettle Falls, Wash., said Tuesday. “Now, the government won’t admit it to me, but I happen to know it’s true.”
Harpham, in his first comments to The Spokesman-Review since his son’s March 9 arrest, said it appears federal agents quit trying to solve the case and focused in on his son simply because of his racist Internet postings.
“He’s sad and he’s pretty worried,” said Harpham, who visited with his son Monday at the Spokane County Jail, where he’s being held while awaiting trial on federal charges.
“To detain him for a year, or as long as the feds drag this thing out, that’s got to be … terrible.”
A man suspected in the attempted bombing the Unity March on martin Luther King Jr. Day in Spokane is due in court this afternoon.
Kevin W. Harpham, 36, is expected to plead not guilty to charges of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and unauthorized possession of an unregistered explosive device at his arraignment today before U.S. Magistrate Cynthia Imbrogno.
The hearing is scheduled for 2:30 p.m., but Imbrogno has three hearings scheduled at 1:30 p.m. that may push it back.
Harpham has extensive ties to the white supremacist movement and authored more than 1,000 postings on the racist website Vanguard News Network.
A grand jury indicted him Wednesday.
A “joint intelligence bulletin” issued on the day federal agents raided the Colville-area home of Kevin W. Harpham suggests that the bomb may have included a rocket motor igniter and was made in such a way to focus shrapnel at a specific target.
The bomb consisted of a steel pipe with a hole drilled at its base.
“The pipe was welded to a roughly cut steel plate,” according to the report, which was posted to a research Web site Wednesday.
The explosive charge was described as black powder, which was contained in a plastic bag.
“While not yet confirmed, the initiator appears similar to a rocket motor igniter,” the report states. “An RMI was used in a crude IED carried by a lone individual who took hostages and threatened employees in the Discovery Channel Building” in Silver Spring, Ma., on Sept. 1, 2010.
He grew up in rural Eastern Washington, played football in high school and worked at a fast-food restaurant as a teen.
Childhood friends remember him as quiet and normal – far from the angry racist that Kevin William Harpham portrayed himself as in more than 1,000 posts on a hate-themed message board for white supremacists.
But acquaintances later in life recall an eerie loner who unabashedly disparaged other ethnicities and seemed to have big plans.
A former neighbor in East Wenatchee said Harpham, now accused of attempting to bomb a Martin Luther King Jr. Day event in Spokane, once laughed at the idea of transporting black people to a desert island and blowing them up.
“I think Kevin was serious,” said Jill Truax. “My son just told me flat out, ‘I think he’s some white supremacist person … think he has an artillery in there.’
“It was like he on a mission or something,” Truax said.
In what federal authorities are calling an act of “domestic terrorism,” a bomb capable of killing multiple people was discovered along the route of Spokane's martin Luther King, Jr., parade on Monday.
The device was found in a Swiss Army-brand backpack by Spokane city employees, who alerted authorities in time to re-route the annual Unity March.
A $20,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.
“It definitely was, by all early analysis, a viable device that was very lethal and had the potential to inflict multiple casualties,” said Frank Harrill, the special agent in charge of the Spokane FBI office. “Clearly, the timing and placement of a device – secreted in a backpack – with the Martin Luther King parade is not coincidental. We are doing everything humanly possible to identify the individuals or individual who constructed and placed this device.”
The backpack and clothing found inside are pictured above.
Sources say the bomb was equipped to detonate by a remote device, such as a car remote or a garage door opener. The bomb apparently also had its own shrapnel that could have caused significant injuries to anyone near the blast.