Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Krar's sentence

Those who have been following the Texas cyanide bomb case will be interested to know that the central figure -- 62-year-old William Krar, a New Hampshire transplant -- was sentenced today.

From the Houston Chronicle:
East Texas man gets 11 years for cyanide cache

NOONDAY -- A man who stockpiled an arsenal of illegal and chemical weapons at an East Texas storage facility was sentenced today to more than 11 years in federal prison while his common-law wife received nearly five years.

William Krar, 63, pleaded guilty in November to one count of possessing a dangerous chemical weapon and could have received life imprisonment. Judith Bruey, 55, had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess illegal weapons. She faced up to five years.

Krar, before being sentenced by U.S. District Judge Leonard Davis, said he never meant to hurt anyone.

"In my 63 years, I've never been in serious trouble. For the record, I'm neither a terrorist or a separatist. I've never desired to hurt anyone or the country that I love," Krar said, reading from a folded, yellow paper.

The preview of the sentencing from the day before observed the evidence to the contrary:
Law officers said Krar was a supplier of explosives, dangerous chemicals and high-powered guns.

"If you had a McVeigh type and a Krar type come together, you might have had a very big explosion," assistant U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston, lead prosecutor in Krar's case, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in Monday's editions.

Krar's cache of weapons included nine machine guns, three silencers, 67 sticks of explosives, more than 100,000 rounds of ammunition, 800 grams of near-pure sodium cyanide and the acids to turn it into poisonous gas.

Featherston said he does not believe Krar was simply a collector of dangerous goods.

"The majority of what Krar possessed you only possess to kill and maim human beings," the prosecutor said.

I don't know a lot about federal sentencing guidelines, though most of the previous stories suggested that Krar was likely to get "less than 20 years" under them. So it appears, from the outside at least, that Krar's sentence was in the low to middle end of the range for this crime. This was, after all, a rarely prosecuted law that is intended to provide tough sentencing for making weapons of mass destruction.

In contrast, the recently arrested ELF terrorist Tre Arrow -- whose crimes may have been numerous, but who represented a significantly lesser threat -- faces up to 80 years in prison for the crimes he's been accused of.

[Some previous posts on the Krar case are here, here, here, here and here.]

No comments: