SPOKANE, Wash. (AP)—When a bomb was found along the route of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade in Spokane, some law officers suspected a possible white supremacist link. Now, an organization that tracks hate groups says the man charged this week in the failed attack was an avid contributor to a supremacist Internet forum and a reputed member of a neo-Nazi group.
The Southern Poverty Law Center said March 10 that Kevin Harpham, 36, made more than 1,000 postings on the Vanguard News Network site, many under a pseudonym.
Harpham was arrested March 9 after being charged with one count of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and one count of possessing an unregistered explosive in a case that raised worries that racist activities may be on the rise again in the Inland Northwest.
The FBI agent in charge of the Spokane office, Frank Harrill, said March 10 that bomb technicians’ decision to disable the explosive, rather than detonate it, helped lead to Harpham’s arrest. Investigators were able to obtain evidence from the bomb itself, he said.
By all indications, the Army veteran lived a quiet life on 10 acres of land north of Addy in rural Stevens County. Property records show he bought the land in 1997 and built a small house in 2007.
Harpham served from 1996 to 1999 as a fire support specialist with the Army’s 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment at what is now Joint Base Lewis-McChord, said spokesman Joseph Piek, who emphasized that Harpham ended his service 12 years ago.
The government’s evidence will be presented to a federal grand jury on March 22. If they indict Harpham, an arraignment will be held the next day and a trial date will be set. If Harpham is not indicted, a probable cause hearing is scheduled on March 23, where federal agents must testify about the evidence they have to support the charges.