Bomb attempt at MLK march
A backpack, containing a bomb capable of “multiple casualties,” was discovered Jan. 17, 2011, in downtown Spokane.
Public facilities district workers reported the package at 9:26 a.m., just before the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Unity March was set to begin. Investigators received numerous photos and video taken that day of the area around Washington Street and Main Avenue.
The FBI confirmed the next day that the Swiss Army-brand backpack contained a bomb that could have caused “multiple casualties” and credited Spokane city employees who noticed the suspicious bag and alerted authorities in time to re-route the parade. Chemicals were mixed with shrapnel in what law enforcement officials say was a weapon designed to inflict maximum injuries.
Federal agents arrested Kevin W. Harpham, an ex-soldier with ties to the white supremacist movement, on Wednesday, March 9.
A federal grand jury returned an indictment against Harpham on March 22, 2011, officially charging him with placing the bomb. Harpham, 36, was charged with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and possession of an unregistered explosive device. He initially pleaded not guilty.
In a plea deal made Sept. 7, 2011, he pleaded guilty to attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to cause bodily injury with an explosive device with a racist motive.
Three Spokane police sergeants were honored for their efforts to quickly divert thousands of marchers to a new route and for their other work that day. Officials lauded Jason Hartman, Chuck Reisenauer and Eric Olsen as heroes for their work and gave them a standing ovation at a City Council meeting Jan. 24.
After an unsuccessful attempt by Harpham to withdraw his guilty plea, U.S. District Court Judge Justin Quackenbush sentenced Harpham to 32 years in prison on Dec. 19, 2011.
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Several Spokane Police officers and Sheriff’s deputies have been awarded by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for protecting the community from a bomb planted by Kevin W. Harpham during the MLK Unity March in 2011.
(Pictured from left to right in front row: Lt. Matt Lyons, Cpl. Mark Fox and Sgt. Jason Hartman. Lt. Eric Olsen was absent from the award ceremony due to training, according to police spokeswoman Monique Cotton. Photo courtesy: SPD)
The bomb did not detonate because Harpham’s remote triggering device could not get close enough to the device. The bomb was laced with rat poison and placed on the northeast corner of Main Avenue and Washington Street, reports said.
Spokane Police Sgt. Jason Hartman and Lt. Eric Olsen were awarded Thursday afternoon for moving the march route, an act that’s believed to have saved several lives.
Court documents show three contract workers discovered the bomb as Harpham walked in the march. Police changed the route before he could walk in range of the device - losing his opportunity to detonate the bomb.
Cpl. Mark Fox and Lt. Matt Lyons with the Spokane County Sheriff’s were also awarded by the FBI for their work with the bomb squad disarming Harpham’s device.
Harpham was arrested in March near his rural home near Addy. He was sentenced to 32 years in prison in Dec. 2011.
OLYMPIA — For the first time in two decades, Sen. Lisa Brown said she won't be in the Capitol Monday on Martin Luther King Day.
Although it's a state holiday, the Legislature is always in session and traditionally works on that day. Next Monday, however, Brown said she'll be in Spokane to march with others in the community one year after the attempted bombing of that annual event.
Last year's parade was rerouted by police after a bomb was found in a suspicious backpack along the route by three temporary workers. Kevin Harpham, who espoused white supremacist views, later pleaded guilty to planting the bomb.
But that march continued last year and will be repeated Monday, Brown said, “sending a strong message that violence has no place in our community or any community.”
In a speech on the Senate floor explaining why she won't be present on Monday, Brown quoted King who once said that people who march “must make the pledge that we always march ahead. We cannot turn back”
In her office of Senate majority leader, she has a painting by a Spokane artist which features the street layout of Washington, D.C., from the Lincoln Memorial, where King made his “I Have a Dream” speech to the White House.
The title “16,582 Days to a Symphony of Brotherhood,” commemorates the number of days between the speech and the inauguration of Barack Obama as the nation's first African-American president. Brown urged people to stop by her office to see painting to contemplate how far the nation has come. And on the one-year anniversary of the attempted bombing they might want to contemplate something else, she said.
“How far we still have to go… to where our differences our settled through dialogue and debate, and not with violence.”
Spokane police have a message for anyone considering participating in the Martin Luther King Jr. Unity March on Monday: “The bad guys aren’t going to win, and they need to come down and show them that,” said Lt. Joe Walker.
Walker, who will be overseeing police presence at the march, explained the police preparations for the march during a meeting with media Tuesday. Police declined to say how many officers will be on hand but said people can expect to see one on nearly every corner. The department expects to bring in 12 to 15 extra officers on overtime.
Leaving a bomb laced with anti-coagulant along the planned route of the Martin Luther King Day Unity March was merely a “creative idea” to protest multiculturalism, domestic terrorist Kevin W. Harpham told a Spokane judge Tuesday.
The explanation was an 11th-hour bid by Harpham, an admitted white supremacist, to withdraw his guilty plea and face trial.
But an unsympathetic U.S. District Court Judge Justin Quackenbush told Harpham, “It’s beyond my comprehension that you would stand there and not accept responsibility for what you have done,” then sentenced the 37-year-old to 32 years in federal prison. It was the
A federal judge has accepted the guilty plea of Kevin W. Harpham for leaving a bomb along the planned route of the Martin Luther King Jr. Unity March last January in downtown Spokane.
In accepting the plea, U.S. District Court Judge Justin Quackenbush will now determine at Nov. 30 sentencing how much time the 37-year-old Colville area resident will serve in prison. He faces a range of about 27 to 32 years.
Harpham pleaded guilty in September to attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to injure people in a hate crime.
In preperation for Harpham's sentencing, the Spokane Crime Victim Service Center is seeking public input for a description of the crime’s impact on the community, which will be read by Quackenbush. Read more here.
Good morning, Netizens…
I do not believe in kicking someone in the shins when they are already down, but it does seem to me that perhaps Kevin Harpham's father, Cecil, might want to more-carefully examine his hole card before his son accepts or rejects the plea deal now currently before Judge Quackenbush's court. Granted, Cecil is recovering from a nearly-fatal motorcycle wreck, and under a doctor's care.
Now as I recall the instances that took place before Kevin Harpham was arrested on a variety of federal charges, I do believe Cecil Harpham made statements to the investigators in charge of the attempted bombing of the Martin Luther King, Jr. march in downtown Spokane, one of which was that Kevin Harpham was with him in Addy on the day the bombing took place.
Even the local news media had pictures of what appears to be Kevin Harpham marching in the parade the day of the bombing. Thus Kevin could not have been in Addy at the time. If Kevin succeeds at pleading guilty, doesn't that imply that his father committed perjury by his sworn statement, lying to federal investigators?
I'm no legal beagle, but even I know you don't fib to federal agents.
Should the feds simply and compassionately ignore this momentary lapse on Cecil's part, simply letting him off the hook, or should he face federal charges as well as his son? No great sleuthing here, folks, just asking.
Michael Ormsbvy, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, stands outside the Thomas Foley Federal Courthouse this morning and answers media question pertaining to the plea deal by accused MLK bomber Kevin Harpham. (SR photo: Christopher Anderson)
Federal prosecutors have recommended a 32-year prison sentence for domestic terrorism suspect Kevin W. Harpham in a plea deal announced this morning in federal court. Harpham’s lawyers countered with a proposed 27-year sentence under the deal struck with the Stevens County man that includes two counts for building and planting a backpack bomb along the route of Spokane’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Unity March in January. Two other counts are being dismissed. Harpham told U.S. District Court Judge Justin Quackenbush he spent a month building the bomb, which prosecutors described as a 6-inch steel pipe containing about 100 grams of black powder, designed to be ignited by a key fob. Harpham’s DNA was found on the backpack in which the bomb was found, prosecutors said/Spokesman-Review. More here.
Question: Is a 27- to 32-year sentence adequate for an individual who planned to kill and maim dozens of Inland Northwest residents?
Evidence of racist postings found on domestic terroism suspect Kevin Harpham’s computers will used in his trial afer a federal judge on Friday denied motions from defense lawyers.
U.S. District Court Judge Justin Quackenbush said the searches of Harpham’s home, at 1088 Cannon Way, near Addy, Wash., and at his father’s home in Kettle Falls fell “within the four corners of the search warrant.”
The judge also recalled FBI agent Joseph Cleary, who acknowledged that it was a mistake that neither he nor another agent read Harpham the arrest warrant even after Harpham, 37, asked why he was being taken into custody on March 9 near Addy.
An FBI plan to not tell domestic terrorism suspect Kevin W. Harpham why he was arrested has raised the ire of the federal judge presiding over the case in which the Stevens County man is charged with leaving a bomb along the route of the Martin Luther King Jr. Unity March.
According to documents released today, U.S. District Court Judge Justin Quackenbush expressed his “concerns as to the several hour delay in advising Kevin Harpham of the reasons for his arrest after taking him into custody and also the failure to give the Defendant Miranda warnings during that several hour period,” the record states.
Federal prosecutors for the first time today revealed that domestic terrorism suspect Kevin W. Harpham took pictures of himself at the Martin Luther King Jr. Unity March, where he is charged with leaving a bomb along its route.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Rice said in court that Harpham, 37, also photographed young black children gathering for the march and a Jewish man who was wearing a yarmulke.
“Whether rightfully or wrongfully, how the defendant sees the world,” Rice said of Harpham, “he intended to target those individuals.”
The U.S. Marshals Service has released booking photos of Kevin William Harpham.
The photos were taken the day of his arrest in connection with the bomb found along the planned route of the Martin Luther King, Jr., United march in downtown Spokane Jan. 17.
Photos of Harpham after he was booked into the Spokane County Jail already have been released.
The recently released images were taken before those shots and show Harpham in his street clothes.
Harpham, who turns 37 on Sunday, pleaded not guilty Monday to a superseding indictment charging He now faces a minimum of 30 years in prison if convicted.
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.