SPOKANE, Wash.-- Attorneys for Kevin Harpham, the backpack bomber, announced early Tuesday he wanted to withdraw his guilty plea.
Harpham’s lawyers said they have newly discovered evidence which is why they want to withdraw the guilty plea. They are relying on a former FBI agent as their expert. Defense lawyers said the former agent would testify the backpack bomb is not an “explosive device,” the keyword being “explosive.”
Harpham had earlier admitted to placing the backpack bomb at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade. He told a judge in September that he placed a pipe bomb loaded with poison-laced metal along the parade route as an attempt to commit a hate crime. Harpham agreed to a plea deal charging him with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, and the hate crime of placing the bomb in an effort to target minorities.
Prosecutors had dropped charges of using a firearm in relation to a crime of violence and unauthorized possession of an unregistered explosive device. If he had been convicted, he could have faced up to life in prison.
A final decision on the withdrawal has not yet been made. He faces 27-32 years in prison under the accepted terms of the plea deal.