Three Leftists Plead Guilty to Bombing the U.S. Capitol
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Three leftist radicals pleaded guilty Friday to bombing the U.S. Capitol and conspiring to set off explosions at eight locations in a two-year campaign of ″armed propaganda″ to protest government policies.
Marilyn J. Buck, Linda S. Evans and Laura J. Whitehorn each pleaded guilty to maliciously damaging the U.S. Capitol by setting off a bomb on Nov. 7, 1983 that blew a hole in the wall outside the Senate chamber.
Evans, 43, told U.S. District Judge Harold H. Greene that the bomb was exploded to protest the American invasion of Grenada. Five paintings were damaged and the door to Democratic leader Robert Byrd’s office was blown off its hinges.
The three women also pleaded guilty to conspiring to bomb the Capitol and seven other buildings in Washington and New York between 1983 and 1985 in what Whitehorn called an effort ″to resist and protest the unjust policies of the U.S. government.″
The charges carry a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison plus fines totaling $20,000. Greene scheduled sentencing for Nov. 28.
As part of the plea agreement, charges will be dropped against three co- defendants.
Whitehorn, 45, also pleaded guilty to possession of equipment to make fake identification documents stemming from an FBI raid in 1985 on a Baltimore apartment she shared with Evans and Buck. That charge carries a five-year sentence.
In addition to fake identification documents, authorities also found typewritten bomb-making instructions bearing Evans’ fingerprints plus 15 pocket watches similar to the type used to detonate the Capitol bomb. Nine watches were altered to be timing devices, according to a statement of evidence from prosecutors.
All eight bombs ″bore marked similarities″ to each other and were triggered by altered pocket watches made by the same manufacturer, the statement said.
The group, variously identifying itself as the Armed Resistance Unit, the Revolutionary Fighting Group and the Red Guerrilla Resistance, claimed responsibility for each of the bombings in communiques to news organizations.
Evans, Buck and Whitehorn have participated in radical activities since the 1960s when they were members of the Students for a Democratic Society, according to their spokeswoman, Judy Greenspan.
None of the eight bombings caused any injuries.
After the proceedings were recessed, about 50 supporters stood up in the courtroom and applauded the defendants, who saluted them with raised fists.
Outside the courthouse, demonstrators chanted ″Free All Political Prisoners″ as prosecutors held a news conference.
But U.S Attorney Jay B. Stephens told reporters that law enforcement agencies ″will not tolerate terrorism to direct the policies of our government.″
Prosecutors said that after the defendants are sentenced, they will drop bombing charges against Susan Rosenberg, Timothy A. Blunk and Alan Berkman.
The government had legal problems with those cases because of a Supreme Court decision last May on the issue of double jeopardy, according to sources who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The three defendants claimed prosecutors could not use evidence that was the basis of earlier convictions to prove they participated in the four Washington bombings.
All six defendants, except Whitehorn, are serving lengthy prison terms for possession of explosives or firearms.
Buck, 42, is serving a 50-year prison term for participating in a string of armed robberies, including a 1981 holdup of a armored car near Nyack, N.Y., in which two policemen and a guard were killed. She also was convicted of helping convicted murderer Joanne Chesimard escape from a New Jersey prison in 1979.
Evans is serving a 40-year prison for illegally purchasing firearms.
Rosenberg and Blunk are serving 58-year terms for possessing an arsenal of explosives they were caught loading into a rented storage bin in Cherry Hill, N.J. in 1984.
Berkman, who suffers from Hodgkins disease, is serving a 10-year prison term for possession of explosives and munitions authorities found in a garage in Doylestown, Pa., that is also linked to the bombings, authorities said.
A seventh defendant in the case, Elizabeth Duke, is a fugitive.