SPOKANE, Wash. - A man who admitted to planting a bomb along a Martin Luther King Day parade route was sentenced Tuesday to 32 years in prison, the maximum punishment as negotiated under a plea deal that he tried to withdraw and then later denounced.
"I am not guilty of the acts that I am accused of and that I plead guilty to," Kevin Harpham said just before U.S. District Judge Justin Quackenbush handed down the sentence.
He only agreed to the deal in September to avoid a possible life sentence, Harpham said.
The statement prompted the judge to impose the higher end of the possible prison sentence, which was negotiated in the plea bargain as between 27 and 32 years. "I am distressed that you appear not the least bit apologetic," Quackenbush said.
Harpham, 37, who has extensive ties to white supremacists, blamed the judge for not giving his defense team enough time. He said he did not intend to injure people with the bomb he placed in downtown Spokane before the January parade.
Rather, he intended for the shrapnel to hit the side of a building as a show of protest against the multiculturalism celebrated by the parade, he said.
He likened himself to a Christian protesting gay marriage, "but a bit more dangerous or extreme."
In Massachusetts on Tuesday, a man who grew up in the Boston suburbs was convicted of conspiring to help al-Qaeda and plotting to kill U.S. soldiers in Iraq after a two-month trial in which jurors heard references to Osama bin Laden and saw dramatic images from the 9/11 attacks.
The federal jury deliberated about 10 hours over three days before finding Tarek Mehanna, 29, guilty of four terror-related charges and three charges of lying to authorities. He faces life in prison, though his attorneys plan to appeal.
Prosecutors said Mehanna and two friends conspired to travel to Yemen so they could receive training at a terrorism camp and eventually go on to Iraq to fight and kill U.S. soldiers there.
When the men were unable to find such a training camp, Mehanna returned home and began to see himself as part of the al-Qaeda "media wing," translating materials promoting violent jihad and distributing them over the Internet, prosecutors said.
In another terror-related case, two brothers enmeshed in a homegrown cell that sought to launch jihadist attacks from their rural North Carolina home apologized to their American countrymen Tuesday for failing to break free of their domineering father and his radical Muslim views.
Zakariya Boyd, 22, was sentenced to nine years in federal prison, and Dylan Boyd, 25, was sentenced to eight years by U.S. District Judge Louise Flanagan.