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Courts and Crime


Would-be Cuyahoga Valley National Park bridge bomber Joshua Stafford to be sentenced today
Stafford is accused of trying to blow up the bridge with fake explosives supplied by an FBI informant
by WKSU's MARK URYCKI


Reporter
Mark Urycki
 
Joshua "Skelly" Stafford was the only one of the five "Bridge Bombers" to plead not guilty.
Courtesy of FBI
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In The Region:
The final member of a group of self-described anarchists who wanted to blow up the Route 82 bridge over the Cuyahoga River is scheduled to be sentenced today.
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Twenty-four-year old Joshua Stafford of Youngstown was one of five men who plotted to blow up the bridge. All had been participated in an Occupy Wall Street protest in Cleveland but decided they wanted to do create more of a disruption. They discussed with an FBI informant some sort of attack on the casino or Federal Reserve Bank in Cleveland.

In the end, they settled on the bridge, and tried to blow it up with explosives supplied by the informant. The explosives were fake, but prosecutors maintained the intention was real.

Anthony Hayne, Douglas  Wright,  Brandon Baxter, and Connor Stevens have already pleaded guilty and were given sentences ranging from six to 11 years. 

Stafford, who was known as Skelly, pleaded not guilty and after being found competent to stand trial, faced a jury in June. Despite advice of federal Judge David Dowd, Stafford decided to represent himself. During the trial, he asked himself questions and answered that he had only planned to spray paint graffiti on the bridge.

But the jury found him guilty on all three counts: conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, attempt to use it, and attempt to destroy property used in interstate commerce, namely, the bridge.  The charges carry a terrorism enhancement that increases the sentencing level. 

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