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Bridge bomber sentenced to 10 years

Bridge bomber sentenced to 10 years

(Akron) — The last of five defendants in a failed anti-Wall Street plot to bomb a highway bridge near Cleveland has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Joshua Stafford could have received life in prison during sentencing Monday in an Akron federal court.

The 25-year-old Cleveland man was convicted in June of two counts of using weapons of mass destruction and one count of explosive materials. He served as his own attorney at trial.

Prosecutors say Stafford tried to use his cellphone to detonate explosives and wasn't aware that they were fakes created in a government sting. The intended target was a highway bridge over the Cuyahoga Valley National Park between Cleveland and Akron.

Stafford's co-defendants pleaded guilty and received sentences of six to 11½ years.

No bomb went off, and no one was injured. The government described the suspects as self-proclaimed anarchists who acted out of anger against corporate America and the government.

Responding to defense objections to a presentence report, the judge said evidence was clear that Stafford was part of a conspiracy "that had as its goal the destruction of the bridge, all of which was an outgrowth of the Occupy Cleveland" anti-corporate movement.

An informant who secretly recorded conversations helped FBI agents foil the bomb plot, and an undercover agent supplied the would-be bombers with fake plastic explosives, authorities said.

Douglas Wright, 27, of Indianapolis, was sentenced to 11½ years in prison; Brandon Baxter, 21, of Lakewood, to nine years and nine months; Connor Stevens, 21, of Berea, to eight years; and Anthony Hayne, 37, of Cleveland, six years.

The defense had argued that the men never meant to hurt anyone and were goaded by the ex-convict working as an FBI informant.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 

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