SPOKANE, Wash. - In a pre-trial hearing in federal court Thursday morning it was disclosed that Cecil Harpham, father of would-be MLK Day bomber Kevin Harpham, would testify against his son.
This was one of many revelations made in federal court Thursday in a pre-trial hearing for Kevin Harpham , who allegedly attempted to bomb the MLK Day Unity March on January 17.
Cecil Harpham previously expressed concern in interviews with KXLY within days of his son's arrest that Kevin may have played a role in the attempted bombing of the Unity Parade.
?It saddens me to think that he might have had a hand in building it,? Harpham said on March 15, adding during that interview that while Kevin might have been involved in building the improvised explosive device, more people must have been involved because the elder Harpham claimed at the time his son with him all day January 17.
Cecil also confirmed in an interview that his son had racist tendencies as well as an interest in building bombs. He subsequently provided testimony, along with Kevin's mother, at a Grand Jury hearing relating to charges a grand jury later handed up that Kevin violated the Federal Hate Crimes Act by using an explosive to commit a hate crime.
Also In court Thursday it was revealed that Harpham, 36, of Addy, had used his own camera to take pictures of minorities at the parade, including a group of African American children, as well as pictures of himself with the children and a picture of a man wearing a Yarmulke, a traditional head cover often worn by Orthodox Jews. Prosecutors also revealed that Harpham had copies of the Anarchist Cookbook, a publication that discusses how to make your own improvised explosives, as well as the Turner Diaries, a fictional account of the fall of the federal government and subsequent race war in the United States. The Turner Diaries was written by William Luther Pierce, the former leader of the National Alliance.
The Southern Poverty Law Center confirms that Harpham was a member of the National Alliance in late 2004, though National Alliance chairman Erich Gliebe says Harpham is not currently a member of the group. Pat Mullett, the former self-proclaimed leader of the Aryan Nations, said that he had about a dozen conversations with Harpham about his desire to join the Aryan Nations back in the mid-2000s but Harpham never joined that group.
Additionally Harpham had a copy of a handbook on improvised munitions and a copy of American Terrorist, a book about Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing, was found in his possession. Judge Fred Van Sickle has ruled that the jury will be allowed to hear that Harpham had copies of the Turner Diaries, the book on improvised munitions and the Anarchist Cookbook, but not the Timothy McVeigh biography.
In the hearing prosecutors are going through a series of postings that Harpham allegedly posted under the monicker "Joe Snuffy" on the anti-Semitic website Vanguard News Network. In those posts, which date back to 2006, numerous comments were made that were both racist in nature as well as referred to his desires to obtain blueprints on how to build an improvised explosive device. One post in 2008 linked Harpham to the Snuffy account when Harpham posted that he couldn't access his account.
Using the Snuffy alias, the Southern Poverty Law Center reports that Harpham posted more than 1,000 times to the VNN site. His final post was 10 days before the attempted bombing of the Unity March, when he offered to provide shelter to Craig Cobb, a neo-Nazi fugitive who created a website that encourages violence against Jews and non-whites.
Harpham was arrested by the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team near his home in Addy on March 9. His arrest came a nearly two-month long investigation into the placement of an improvised explosive device along the Unity March route in downtown Spokane on January 17. The device was discovered by several contract city employees prior to the march and was removed and deactivated by an explosives disposal team. The FBI flew the bomb to Quantico, VA. and later disclosed the bomb was "a potentially deadly destructive device, likely capable of inflicting multiple casualties.?
The bomb was designed like a massive shotgun, with a steel pipe packed with gunpowder and lead weights for shrapnel. Placed on a park bench with a brick wall behind it, the bomb was directed outward to the street along which the Unity March was scheduled to take place. Bomb experts familiar the case said that the device, if it had been detonated, could have been deadly to anyone within 50 feet and that people up to almost a city block away could have been injured in the blast.
Prosecutors said Thursday that the lead weights were bought at the Wal-Mart in Colville, while one of 46 posts on the VNN website they are submitting as evidence allegedly has Harpham bragging about purchasing the t-shirts that were found in the backpack that the bomb was found in. They also said that a secondary explosive device was found in a gravel pit in Stevens County that was linked to Harpham. Prosecutors would not disclose where the gravel pit was.
A Joint Intelligence Bulletin written by the FBI and Homeland Security confirmed the bomb's viability and described the maker of the MLK Day Bomb as someone who ?possesses a higher degree of knowledge and skill than the typical domestic pipe bomb builder.?
Harpham's defense team, meanwhile, is arguing the admissibility of statements he made following his arrest on March 9. After HRT arrested him there was reportedly a two and a half hour window during which he was not read his Miranda Rights. Defense attorneys are arguing that since he was not read his rights, any statements he made are inadmissible. Prosecutors, meanwhile, are arguing that statements Harpham made were done after he was read his rights.
Harpham has been charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction for allegedly placing an improvised explosive device along the Unity March parade route on Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday. If convicted on that single charge Harpham could face life in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted. He also faces charges of having in his possession an unregistered explosive and hate crime charges under the Federal Hate Crimes Act, including using an explosive to commit a hate crime. He has plead not guilty to all charges he's facing.
Judge Fred Van Sickle said early on in Thursday's hearing that he intends to have the trial start on August 22.
KXLY4's Jeff Humphrey contributed to this report
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