The Washington state man accused of placing a bomb at the parade route of a Martin Luther King Jr. day celebration in January wants a four-month postponement of his federal trial.
According to the Associated Press, defense attorneys for Kevin Harpham of Addy, Wash. said in recent court documents that prosecutors want to use more evidence against their client than the defense can process before the planned trial date of May 31. They said prosecutors intend to use highly technical DNA evidence in addition to testimony from computer and explosive specialists.
“To date, we have received approximately 3,500 pages of discovery and 13 audio and video CDs,” the defense request documents state, according to the AP.
Harpham, 36, also faces charges of committing a hate crime, possession of an unregistered destructive device and using a firearm during a hate crime. The latter offense comes with a minimum sentence of 30 years.
Defense lawyers say Harpham faces a life sentence if he’s convicted, and they need sufficient time to prepare.
The incident occurred Jan. 17 at a Unity March in Spokane, Wash. Harpham was arrested on March 9 and pleaded not guilty. A federal grand jury indicted Harpham, saying he planted the bomb at the event because of the “actual or perceived race, color and national origin” of attendees.
But little else was released by prosecutors about Harpham’s motivations because court documents about the investigation remained sealed at the request of federal prosecutors. They said that releasing court information would curb an ongoing investigation and could affect the jury pool.
Officials say that Harpham has ties to White supremacists, and the Southern Poverty Law Center claims he belonged to a neo-Nazi group called the National Alliance. But according to ABC-TV Spokane, Wash. affiliate KXLY, the leader of the organization said in March that he didn’t recognize Harpham’s name and said that the National Alliance “has a zero tolerance policy regarding illegal activity.”
Shortly after his arrest, the public affairs office at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, a joint army/air force military base in Washington said a Kevin William Harpham “served at Fort Lewis from June 1996 to February 1999 as a fire support specialist in the 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment.” The National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Mo. told KXLY that Harpham served in the military for a period of time but did not disclose the length of his enlistment, duties or discharge terms.
Prosecutors have not initially objected to Harpham’s trial postponement, which is expected to be further discussed during a court appearance on May 20.