SPOKANE, Wash. - Two days. That is the time before a federal judge sentences Kevin Harpham for planting a weapon of mass destruction near a crowded parade route in downtown Spokane in January. Harpham faces 27 to 32 years in prison.
Harpham pleaded guilty in September to several felonies relating to his placing a homemade bomb along the expected path of a Martin Luther King Jr., Unity Parade in Spokane. The bomb was found by grounds crews and was disarmed by a bomb squad while the parade route was changed-- that change now credited with saving dozens of people from injury or death.
Since pleading guilty, hundreds of pages of court documents in the attempted-bombing case, which had been sealed during the trial, have now been released by a federal judge. Many of those documents include postings Harpham made on white supremacist blogs, where the FBI said he assumed the online alias "Joe Snuffy".
One of those posts, in 2007, reveals how his admitted racism might have begun.
In 2007, Harpham responded to a post titled: "When did you become racially aware?"
Harpham described how he joined the Army in 1996 and wrote "I wasn't radical at that point but I can remember sitting on my bunk with a buddy watching news of a "nazi" rally in DC around 98'...."It wasn't until around 2000/2003 when I stumbled into Stormfront and found a link to William Pierce's broadcasts that I realized I was at war and didn't even know it. The next year was the most educational time of my life."
Both Stormfront, an online community and William Pierce promote the beliefs of white supremacists. Harpham posted on these types of blogs for many years when in 2011 he turned his rants into action. Harpham made dozens of these types of postings.
To read the documents in their entirety click on the "Harpham Documents (Part 1 & 2)" links on the right hand side of this article.
In the days after the bomb was discovered FBI investigators set to work analyzing the bomb for clues as to who made it and placed it.
The bomb contained 128 rat-poison coated fishing weights that would have functioned as shrapnel and was set to explode using black powder and a remote-control car starter. The backpack containing the bomb had hair in it and three different people's DNA.
Investigators worked at identifying the DNA, finding out where the fishing weights were purchased, and examining the tool marks on the device to match up with tools found at a potential suspect's residence.
Harpham's DNA was matched by pulling a sample from the Armed Forces Repository of Specimen Samples for the Identification of Remains, which was available because he had served in the Army. The agents also found that it was Harpham who purchased fishing weighs on several occasions at different stores.
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