Judge Lectures MLK Day Bomber, Gives Maximum 32-Year Sentence
Saying Kevin W. Harpham hasn’t accepted responsibility for planting a potentially deadly bomb along the route of a Martin Luther King Jr. Day unity march in Spokane, Wash., a federal judge on Tuesday sentenced the white supremacist to 32 years in prison.
“I’m distressed that you’re not the least bit apologetic or accepted responsibility,” U.S. District Judge Justin Quackenbush told the 37-year-old racist bomb builder. “Kevin Harpham,” the judge continued, “you’ve made a terrible mistake by letting your racist prejudices control your actions.”
The federal judge handed down the 32-year prison term after Harpham attempted to withdraw two guilty pleas he entered in September as part of a plea deal to avoid spending his entire life in prison. Under the deal, he faced a sentencing range of 27 to 32 years, and the judge gave him the maximum.
Harpham - a former U.S. Army ordnance technician, a card-carrying member of the neo-Nazi National Alliance and jailhouse pen pal of former Klan leader Glenn Miller - pleaded guilty to attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and placing that bomb to carry out a hate crime. The case was only the third time the U.S. Department of Justice has filed a federal hate crime charge under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hates Crimes Prevention Act enacted by Congress in October 2009.