Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Northwest white supremacist sentenced to 32 years for MLK Day bomb

SPOKANE, Wash. – The white supremacist who planted a bomb along Spokane's Martin Luther King Day parade has been sentenced to 32 years in prison. It's the maximum sentence the federal judge was allowed to hand down under the terms of a plea deal between Kevin Harpham and federal prosecutors.

Kevin Harpham built a pipe bomb filled with black powder and fishing weights coated in rat poison. He placed the device along the parade route in a backpack.

The bomb never went off, but U.S. District Court Judge Justin Quackenbush said the attempt alone last January was a serious crime.

A 'protest' with consequences

Harpham called the device “a statement of protest” against social concepts like “unity and multiculturalism.” But he told the judge he never intended to hurt anyone.

Afterward, federal prosecutor Michael Ormsby said the government was pleased with the 32-year sentence.

“The judge certainly considered his attitude today in court and considered his lack of acceptance of responsibility in imposing the maximum term he could authorize,” Ormsby says.

Prior to the sentencing, Harpham's team tried to withdraw the guilty plea. They argue the device was not “an explosive bomb” as defined by federal hate crime law.

Harpham said in court he still intends to seek a trial by jury.

On the Web:

Copyright 2011 Northwest News Network

Inland Northwest Correspondent Jessica Robinson reports from the Northwest News Network's bureau in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. From the politics of wolves to mining regulation to small town gay rights movements, Jessica covers the economic, demographic and environmental trends that are shaping places east of the Cascades.