MLK Parade Bomb Suspect in Washington Seeks Trial Delay

Lawyers for Kevin Harpham want a four-month delay in his federal trial for attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.

Posted: 05/04/2011 09:35 AM EDT
MLK bombing, Mark Harpham

Kevin Harpham's booking photo. (Photo: AP Photo/Spokane County Sheriff)

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A man charged with planting an unexploded bomb at a Martin Luther King Jr. parade in Spokane wants a four-month delay in his federal trial for attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.

 

Defense lawyers said in documents filed Monday that prosecutors intend to present more evidence against defendant Kevin Harpham than the attorneys can process before the current May 31 trial date.

 

"To date, we have received approximately 3,500 pages of discovery and 13 audio and video CDs," the documents state.

 

The material indicates federal prosecutors will be presenting highly technical evidence involving DNA in addition to testimony from computer and explosives experts.

 

Lawyers for Harpham, who has extensive ties to white supremacist activities, also pointed out he could face life in prison if convicted, so they need ample time to prepare.

 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Rice said Tuesday that prosecutors do not object to a trial delay. The issue was expected to be discussed during a May 20 court appearance.

 

Harpham, 36, of Addy was arrested on March 9. He has pleaded not guilty and remains in jail without bail.

 

He also faces charges of possession of an unregistered destructive device, committing a hate crime and using a firearm during a violent hate crime, which carries a minimum sentence of 30 years.

 

A grand jury indictment contended Harpham planted the device on the morning of Jan. 17, "because of actual or perceived race, color and national origin" of participants.

 

Little else is known about the motivation in the case because a request by federal prosecutors to seal court documents about the investigation has been granted.

 

Prosecutors contend releasing details would hamper an on-going investigation and could taint the jury pool.

 

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, has said Harpham made more than 1,000 postings on an Internet site used by racists called the Vanguard News Network. The center has also said Harpham belonged to a neo-Nazi group called the National Alliance.

 

His father, Cecil Harpham, has said his son talked to racists on the Internet regularly but never acted on racial hate.

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