Three men have been found guilty in Wichita, Kansas of plotting to blow up a mosque and an apartment building that was home to a group of Somali immigrants, reports Breitbart News.
This attack would “wake people up,” Gavin Wright said in a recording presented in the trial. The jury found Wright and his co-conspirators Patrick Stein and Curtis Allen guilty on one count of conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction and one count of conspiracy against civil rights. The jury also convicted Wright on an additional count of lying to the FBI.
Prosecutors said the FBI learned of the bomb plot after a fellow militia member became alarmed by the escalating talk of violence, the Associated Press reported on Wednesday. The tipster agreed to become an informant and wear a wire. The evidence he gathered led to an indictment against the three Kansas men in October 2016.
“Their ultimate goal was to wake people up and to slaughter every man, woman and child in the building,” assistant US attorney Anthony Mattivi told the jury during his closing argument on Tuesday, The Guardian reported.
Evidence revealed that law enforcement investigated the case for eight months before making the arrests. During that time, the men stockpiled guns and explosives in preparation for the bombing of the apartment complex–home to 12o people, including a group of Somali refugees.
The men planned to park a vehicle loaded with explosives at each corner of the complex and detonate them, the indictment stated. The apartment complex is located in Garden City, a small Kansas town of 27,000.
The jury deliberated for seven hours over a two-day period before returning the guilty verdict, The New York Times reported.
The crime has been classified as a hate crime. Stein’s attorney, James Pratt, admitted his client’s hate for the Somali refugees whom he called “cockroaches,” the Times reported. “It’s not morally right to hold such hate, but it is not legally wrong,” Pratt said. “We all have the right to hate.”
A sentencing hearing is scheduled for June where the three men face up to life in prison.