Oregon man arrested in bombing at DA's office

AP News
Posted: Nov 21, 2013 6:51 PM
Oregon man arrested in bombing at DA's office

MEDFORD, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon man was ordered held on $5 million bail Thursday on allegations that he tried to blow up the office of the district attorney who was prosecuting him on burglary charges.

Alan Leroy McVay, 46, of Jackson County, was arrested Wednesday without incident in a pizza parlor parking lot in nearby White City, said Medford Police Chief Tim George.

"It was an act of domestic terrorism against the criminal justice system," George said.

Authorities refused to divulge a motive for the blast at the Jackson County district attorney's office in downtown Medford, or what tips and physical evidence led investigators to focus on McVay. But The Mail Tribune newspaper reported in April that McVay was one of three people being prosecuted in the burglary of a Medford home where 30 guns and ammunition were taken.

McVay was arraigned by video Thursday in Jackson County Circuit Court on charges of arson, burglary, building and possessing a destructive device, and criminal mischief. He did not speak.

Judge Lorenzo Mejia set bail at $5 million after prosecutor Jeremy Markiewicz argued that McVay's access to money, the nature of the charges and the safety of the community made the original bail of $1 million too low. David Orf, the lawyer who represents McVay on the earlier charges, said he did not object and requested a preliminary hearing, which was set for Nov. 29.

The case will go to the grand jury next week, Markiewicz said.

Outside the courtroom, Anita Robertson said through tears that McVay, her uncle, has been homeless for some time, had fallen in with a bad crowd and had been using drugs.

"Despite the circumstances, he does have a family that loves him," she said. It was a shock for her family when they "woke up this morning and saw all this stuff exploding all over Facebook."

George refused to elaborate on the evidence that led to McVay's arrest.

George said information led investigators to McVay within 48 to 72 hours, but the decision to arrest him was not made until Wednesday, a week after the blast. There was no evidence of any other people involved in the blast, or that another attack was planned, the police chief said.

"I think everyone in my office breathed a sigh of relief that we have a person in custody" and a threat to the community had been removed, District Attorney Beth Heckert said.

The explosion at about 4:30 a.m. Nov. 13 blew out windows but did little other damage to the DA's office. Authorities said, however, that if a 5-gallon propane tank that was part of the device had blown up, the building could have been destroyed.

Two dozen agents from the FBI and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives helped Medford police in the investigation.