Two in failed Ohio bridge bombing plot sentenced to prison

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 20, 2012 11:57 AM

By Kim Palmer

AKRON, Ohio (Reuters) - Two self-described anarchists who pleaded guilty to plotting to blow up a four-lane highway bridge near Cleveland were sentenced on Tuesday to 10 and 11 years in prison by a federal judge.

Douglas Wright, 27, and Brandon Baxter, 20, both pleaded guilty on September 5 to conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, along with other related charges.

U.S. District Judge David D. Dowd Jr. gave Wright 11 and a half years in prison and Baxter received just under 10 years in prison. Both received lifetime parole.

Prosecutors had asked for 30 years for Wright and 25 years for Baxter.

A third man, Connor Stevens, who also pleaded guilty to the conspiracy, will be sentenced later Tuesday.

The men were three of five accused of plotting in April to blow up a bridge 30 miles south of Cleveland that runs through Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

They were arrested after leaving two toolboxes at the base of the bridge that contained inert C-4 explosive purchased from an undercover FBI agent days earlier.

After placing what they thought to be active explosives, the five men drove to a restaurant and used a cell phone to set off the explosives. FBI agents have said that the public was never in danger.

A fourth suspect, Anthony Hayne, 35, pleaded guilty in July and had agreed to testify against the others in a trial that was to have started in September.

In July, Hayne said he understood that his plea meant he would face more than 15 years in prison and possible probation for life. He will be sentenced Wednesday.

The fifth suspect, Joshua Stafford, has been undergoing competency testing.

An undercover FBI agent sold the men inoperable detonators and plastic explosives and authorities arrested them on April 30 after determining that they planned to proceed with the attack.

Defense attorneys questioned the role of the paid informant.

(Reporting by Kim Palmer; Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Bill Trott)