CHICAGO – A man convicted of plotting to blow up a federal courthouse was sentenced Thursday to 120 years in prison.
Gale Nettles, 66, was sentenced to eight consecutive 20-year sentences for conspiring to bomb the Everett M. Dirksen federal courthouse, a 28-story glass and steel structure at the south end of Chicago, and for counterfeiting $20 and $100 bills.
Judge John F. Keenan of U.S. District Court in Manhattan presided over the trial after Chicago's federal judges were recused.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon Fox described Nettles as a violent man who thought Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh "had not done enough to kill as many people as possible." The 1995 attack that destroyed the Oklahoma City federal building killed 168 people.
FBI agents began watching Nettles while he was serving time in federal prison for counterfeiting after he boasted to another inmate that he would fulfill his dream of getting revenge against the government by loading explosive ammonium nitrate into a truck and driving into the courthouse's underground garage.
After his October 2003 release, undercover agents sold him a load of urea, which resembles ammonium nitrate but would not have exploded if detonated in the way Nettles was planning.
At his September 2005 trial, he claimed he had been entrapped by agents and never would have bombed the courthouse if left alone.