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Man Convicted in Reno, Nev., IRS Bombing Attempt

June 11, 1996 GMT

RENO, Nev. (AP) _ A man who has not paid federal income taxes for more than 10 years was found guilty today of trying to bomb the Internal Revenue Service offices here.

The panel began deliberating the charges against Joseph Bailie on Monday after a morning of instructions from U.S. District Judge Howard McKibben. Jurors deliberated 4 1/2 hours before retiring for the night, and an additional 1 1/2 hours today before reaching the verdict.

The bomb, left in a parking lot at the IRS building on Dec. 17, consisted of about 100 pounds of fertilizer and kerosene. It was supposed to have been triggered by a fuse, a blasting cap and a dynamite-like substance, but it fizzled, in part because the wrong type of fertilizer was used.

Prosecutors portrayed Bailie, heavy equipment operator at a gravel pit, as an outspoken enemy of the IRS who had not paid taxes since 1985, even though his salary had been garnisheed.

``Virtually every piece of evidence points to defendant Joseph Bailie as the person who assembled the bomb and placed it at the IRS building along with co-defendant Ellis Edward Hurst,″ assistant U.S. attorney Jay Angelo told jurors during his closing argument on Monday.

Bailie did not testify at the trial. Defense attorneys contended that Ed Hurst, a former co-defendant, acted alone and then agreed to testify against Bailie to curry the favor of prosecutors.

``It’s Ed Hurst who is the cornerstone of the government’s case,″ defense attorney Tod Young told jurors. ``You have to believe Ed Hurst completely if you are going to convict Joe Bailie and you can’t do that because Ed Hurst is a liar.″

Bailie, 41, faces up to 50 years in prison for his conviction on counts of conspiracy, attempted destruction of a government building and use of an explosive device while committing a violent crime. Sentencing was set for Sept. 6.

Hurst, 52, pleaded guilty to similar counts and faces a little more than 33 years at his sentencing June 20. Prosecutors could recommend less time in exchange for his testimony.

Bailie’s in-laws testified for the defense that their son-in-law was at their home south of Gardnerville, about 50 miles from the IRS building, at the time Hurst said Bailie lit the fuse. But FBI agents who interviewed both in-laws on Dec. 28, the day Bailie was arrested, said neither mentioned the visit until an hour or so later.

The in-laws said on the stand they were testifying under an oath to God, and not to protect their son-in-law.