Ex-Soldier Charged in Connection to MLK Parade Bomb Plot

Published March 09, 2011

| FoxNews.com

Authorities arrested and charged a man they allege played a role in the placement of bomb alongside a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade route in Spokane, Wash., according to a statement from the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.

Kevin William Harpham, 36, appeared in court Wednesday and was held without bail. He stands accused of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and possession of an unregistered explosive device, according to a statement. If convicted Harpham faces life in prison.

Harpham had been arrested earlier without incident while leaving his home during a raid by dozens of federal agents. 

The Spokesman-Review reported that Harpham is an ex-soldier and has ties to the white supremacist movement. 

Army officials told the Wall Street Journal that Harpham served at Fort Lewis from June 1996 to February 1999.

Paul Mullet, who heads The Aryan Nations Socialist Party of Athol, Idaho, told the Journal that he had been in touch with Harpham   many times after he inquired about information of the group. 

"He seemed like a real nice guy," Mullet reportedly said, adding that he sent Mr. Harpham literature but he never joined the movement.

Special Agent Frederick Gutt said the intense, nearly two-month-long investigation included hostage rescue teams, agents flown in from Washington, D.C., and evidence collection experts.

“This is the end of chapter one of the investigation,” Gutt told Foxnews.com.

Gutt said the improvised explosive device was sophisticated and placed at a section of the parade route that would have likely caused significant injuries if detonated.

Gutt did not speak to the specifics of the investigation or evidence collected, citing the sealed affidavit. But he did say, “Enough evidence was collected to bring to the prosecutors and obtain a warrant.”

While most people run from a would-be explosive, once disarmed, investigators run to the device to inspect it, said Gutt.

“The device is physical evidence and we can track evidence we find on the instrument,” said Gutt.

Eyewitnesses and other normal investigation procedures are also exercised.

The device was first spotted by three city workers about an hour before the parade was to begin. Upon looking inside, the three discovered wires and alerted law enforcement, the Associated Press reported. The parade route was changed and the bomb was disabled.

Michael C. Ormsby, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, told FoxNews.com that prosecutors and the FBI had worked closely during the investigation.

"This is an clear and direct attack against all people and all ethnic groups," Ormsby, a life-long resident of Spokane. "I take it as an attack on me, too, because I often march in that parade."

 

URL

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/03/09/ex-soldier-charged-connection-mlk-parade-bomb-plot/