HAPPENING TODAY: Harpham To Be Arraigned On Hate Crime Charges - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Harpham Pleads Not Guilty To New Charges

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - The man charged with planting a bomb along the route of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade in Spokane is pleading not guilty to the four charges against him, including a hate crimes charge.

Kevin Harpham entered the pleas Monday before U.S. Magistrate Cynthia Imbrogno. He remains without bail in the Spokane County Jail.

Harpham, who has extensive ties to white supremacist groups, faces up to life in prison on two of the charges. One charge also carries a 30-year minimum sentence.

He earlier pleaded not guilty to attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and unauthorized possession of an unregistered explosive device. A grand jury has since added a hate crime charge and a charge of using a weapon in a crime of violence. The bomb was found on Jan. 17 and disabled before it could explode.


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SPOKANE, Wash. - High ranking officials from Washington, D.C. helped federal prosecutors in Spokane seek two additional charges against Kevin Harpham, the man accused of leaving a backpack bomb in downtown Spokane near a Martin Luther King Unity March in January.

Authorities from the Department of Justice flew to Spokane from Washington, D.C. to help convince a grand jury that the bomb left in Spokane violated the Hate Crimes Prevention Act. 

Federal prosecutors have not previously tried the Act in the Eastern District of Washington.

Congress passed the Matthew Shephard and James Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act in 2009 to encourage law enforcement to investigate and prosecute hate crimes.  Matthew Shephard was a college student in Wyoming who was murdered because of his sexual orientation.  James Byrd was a Texas man killed while being dragged behind a pick-up truck because of the color of his skin.

The Act allows prosecutors to classify hate crimes in instances where a crime was committed because or race, gender or sexual orientation.

Three city workers found a pipe bomb placed in a backpack along the parade route thousands were about to use in January to honor civil rights leader Martin Luther King.

Frank Harrill, special agent in charge of the FBI's Spokane office previously called the bomb's placement near the parade route "an act of domestic terrorism."

Harpham is scheduled to be arraigned on the new counts next Monday.  The upgraded indictment adds two charges to those already handed down last month.

If convicted, Harpham could face two life sentences in prison.

 

KHQ Local News Reporter Anthony Gomes contributed to this report.

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