Akron: Three men sentenced in failed bridge bomb plot

7:10 PM, Nov 20, 2012   |    comments
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AKRON -- Three men convicted in a plot to bomb a Brecksville bridge will serve nearly 30 years collectively in federal prison.

Judge David Dowd sentenced Doug Wright, the alleged ringleader, to 138 months, or more than 11 years in prison, Tuesday morning for his role in a failed plan to blow up the Route 82 bridge in April.

Brandon Baxter, 20, was sentenced to 117 months, nearly 10 years, for his role.

Connor Stevens, 20, was sentenced to 97 months, about 8 years, in prison. All three defendants will undergo substance abuse treatment and face lifetime supervision upon release.

Each sentence was more than the minimum required, but far less than the government recommended for each defendant.

Judge Dowd stuck to the opinion he shared last week to sentence the group as terrorists, making them subject to harsher sentences.

Wright, 27, apologized to everyone affected by his actions. He said he was under the influence during most events in the plot, but he takes full responsibility for his actions.

Baxter had tears in his eyes while speaking to the court, acknowledging if the explosives were real, there could have been many victims.

"This would have been a benefit to nobody and only a detriment to society and communities in that area," he said.

Stevens called the act the worst decision of his life, accepting responsibility for what he calls, "a foolish risk to life, an act of blind violence."

Stevens said he was in an emotionally distraught state, drinking excessively and using other drugs in April.

"I'm working on forgiving myself for this heinous act, and ask that the people of Brecksville and this court work on forgiving me as well," said Stevens.

Supporters of each defendant discussed the government's role in the case using an undercover FBI informant to sell fake explosives to the group. Witnesses referenced the defense's original position that this case involved entrapment.

"My son is guilty and so are you," said James Stevens, Connor's father. "The government is guilty. It's both your faults."

Anthony Hayne, who cooperated with federal prosecutors, is set to be scheduled Wednesday morning.

A fifth suspect, Joshua Stafford, is undergoing psychiatric evaluation.


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