Washington Bomb-Maker Pleads Guilty; Feds Say Tried to Help Jihadists
A terrorist sympathizer, a college dropout who idolized both American terrorist Timothy McVeigh and Islamic jihadists while learning the hard way how to build bombs, likely faces a lengthy prison sentence after confessing to two terrorism-related crimes.
Joseph Jefferey Brice, 22, who nearly died when one of his eight-pound homemade bombs exploded in April 2010, pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Spokane to illegally making the device and later providing bomb-making instructions online to potential foreign terrorists.
The latter charge of providing material support to terrorists reached the attention of senior Justice Department officials because of its national security implications, according to U.S. Attorney Michael Ormsby, who declined further comment on the case.
Brice faces up to 15 years in prison when he’s sentenced on Jan. 9 by U.S. District Judge Lonny Suko.
Brice used the Internet to help foreign terrorists learn bomb-making techniques, knowing that such training would lead to the use, attempted use or threatened use of a weapon of mass destruction, Assistant U.S. Attorney Russell Smoot said in court filings.
The prosecutor described Brice as an intelligent young man with an “insatiable interest” in building and blowing up bombs, who used social media for discussions about using improvised explosive devices to bomb the U.S. Courthouse in Spokane or as diversions for bank robberies.