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UPDATE: Ohio Bomb Suspect Allowed to Represent Himself

By: The Associated Press Email
By: The Associated Press Email

UPDATE 5/22/13 @ 5:20 p.m.
AKRON, Ohio (AP) -- A federal judge will allow the last of five bridge bomb-plotting suspects in northeast Ohio to represent himself at trial.

Federal Judge David Dowd in Akron ruled Wednesday there's no reason to deny the request by 23-year-old Joshua Stafford of Cleveland, whose trial is scheduled June 10.

Last month the judge ruled Stafford mentally fit for trial after hearing from psychologists who said Stafford is suicidal, depressed and wary of a dangerous world.

No bomb went off and no one was injured in the plot last year in which the intended target was a highway bridge over the Cuyahoga Valley National Park between Cleveland and Akron.

The other four defendants have pleaded guilty and landed prison terms of six to 11 years.



UPDATE 9/5/12 @ 5 p.m.
AKRON, Ohio (AP) -- A suspect charged with plotting to bomb a highway bridge in Ohio has pleaded guilty in the first of three expected guilty pleas in the case.

The FBI has said the public was never in danger even though they say the target was a highway bridge over the Cuyahoga Valley National Park between Cleveland and Akron.

Connor Stevens of Berea in suburban Cleveland pleaded guilty to all three counts against him Wednesday in Akron before a federal judge.

Stevens was charged with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction, knowingly attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to damage property with explosives.

Two other guilty pleas were expected Wednesday. A fourth suspect pleaded guilty earlier this year.

That leaves one suspect facing possible trial.



UPDATE 7/25/12 @ 11:43 a.m.
AKRON, Ohio (AP) -- Supporters of five men charged with plotting to bomb a highway bridge in Ohio have protested outside the pretrial hearing for the defendants.

Supporters of the five held signs Wednesday that read "Stop FBI Entrapment" and "Justice Don't Be Blind." The mother of one defendant says the suspects were manipulated by an FBI informant.

The men are charged with plotting to blow up a bridge between Cleveland and Akron. They allegedly were working with an FBI informant who provided a dud explosive.

Authorities describe the suspects as anarchists who acted out of their own anger against corporate America and the government.

The trial is scheduled for Sept. 17 in Akron.



UPDATE 5/17/12 @ 12:50 p.m.
CLEVELAND (AP) -- The trial for five men charged with plotting to bomb an Ohio bridge was pushed back a week from Sept. 11 after the defense complained the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks would highlight terrorism concerns and taint the jury.

Judge David Dowd in Akron agreed Thursday to move the trial to Sept. 17. He also must consider a defense request to hold the trial away from Cleveland and Akron.

The highway bridge targeted by the alleged bomb plot sits between the two cities in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

The suspects are described by the government as self-proclaimed anarchists. They have pleaded not guilty.

Authorities said they arrested the men last month when they tried to detonate what was actually a fake explosive provided by a paid FBI informant.



ORIGINAL STORY
CLEVELAND (AP) -- Federal authorities say five men have been arrested in an alleged plot to blow up a bridge near Cleveland.

The FBI said Tuesday there was no danger to the public because the explosive devices were inoperable and were controlled by an undercover FBI employee.

Three men were arrested Monday on charges of conspiracy and trying to use explosive to damage property affecting interstate commerce. Charges were pending against two men.

The suspects range in age from 20 and 35. Authorities say at least three are self-described anarchists and are not tied to international terrorism.

The FBI says the target of the plot was a bridge over the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in the Brecksville area, roughly 15 miles south of downtown Cleveland.


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