AKRON, Ohio (AP) — The first man to plead guilty in a failed plot to bomb a highway bridge in Ohio was sentenced Friday to six years in prison, the lightest sentence of the four handed out so far.
Anthony Hayne, 36, of Cleveland, apologized before being sentenced in U.S. District Court. His guilty plea and offer to testify for prosecutors quickly led three of his co-defendants to plead guilty.
A fifth defendant is undergoing a psychiatric exam.
Hayne, who was at greater risk of a long sentence because of his criminal record for theft and breaking and entering, had pleaded guilty in a deal seeking to avoid a possible life sentence. He stuck with his guilty plea but backed out of the plea deal, hoping his sentence would still wind up less than his co-defendants.
"What I did was wrong," Hayne told the court. And, in an apparent reference to co-defendants who blamed their involvement on liquor or drugs, added, "I blame it on myself."
The men were arrested in an FBI sting operation targeting a highway bridge over the Cuyahoga Valley National Park between Cleveland and Akron. The FBI has said the public was never in danger and the device was a dud provided by an informant.
Still, the fact that the device was a dud "is not a defense," Judge David Dowd said.
The suspects were described by the government as self-proclaimed anarchists who acted out of anger against corporate America and the government. The defense has called the investigation a case of entrapment, with the informant guiding the way.