by Garret Ean
Nov 21 2012
Sentencing for three of the five men arrested in connection with an FBI plot to destroy a bridge outside of Cleveland on May 1 occurred yesterday. Douglas Wright, Brandon Baxter, and Connor Stevens were handed 138, 117, and 97 month sentences respectively, including a lifetime on supervised release. While the five had initially pleaded not guilty, in July, the oldest individual charged, Anthony Hayne, pleaded guilty to the three charges against him in “hopes to get leniency in return for his testimony”, according to his attorney. On September 5, it was reported that another three had pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, and attempted use of an explosive device to destroy property used in interstate commerce. Hayne is scheduled to be sentenced within the next week. The one remaining defendant to have not pled guilty, 23 year old Joshua Stafford, is currently being evaluated for whether or not he is competent to stand trial. Judge David Dowd initially supported a ‘terrorism’ classification for the charges against the youth as recommended by the prosecution, but ultimately opted against it at the sentencing hearing. Such designation would have effectively doubled the sentences.
The FBI were so delighted by the news that they took the time to draft a self-congratulatory press release that thanks no less than twenty-four additional government bureaucracies for their help in convincing young hooligans to carry out a faux attack, “in the hopes of furthering their ideological views”.
The fooled would-be terrorists expressed remorse at their attempted actions. Douglas Wright said, “I want to apologize to the community, everybody in the Cleveland, Akron area. I wanted to apologize to my friends and family for having to put everybody through this.” He also admitted having substance abuse problems requiring help, “…not just prison.” Brandon Baxter acknowledged the potential harm his actions could have caused. “I would like to acknowledge the fact that I recognize and understand that if the devices were real, this would not be a victimless crime…I would like to apologize to the people in the communities that use the Route 82 bridge on a regular basis. If this had gone through, this would have been a detriment to everybody.”
James Stevens, father of Connor, condemned the actions of both his son and the FBI, saying, “My son is guilty, and so is the government.”