Thursday, December 23, 2010

Jury: death for dad, son in bank bombing (Salem, Oregon)

Dad BRUCE TURNBRIDGE and son are pretty dispicable creatures. Bigoted, Nazi-sympathizers who have been convicted of planting a bomb at a bank that killed two police officers and maimed a third. And they have shown no remorse at all. Oh, they were just so beside themselves with the idea that President Obama might take away their precious guns. Well, some freaks NEED to have their little private arsenals taken away because they are, in fact, a menace to other human beings.

So, do you still think every child needs a father? Did this child benefit by close contact with his father, who brought him up to be a violent, paranoid, ultra-rightwing militia creep just like the old man?

And why is the son's 12-year-old daughter in the custody of the grandparents? What happened to her mother? And note the defense attorney's tearful appeal, that this child not be left without a parent! Wouldn't she have a parent if her mother is still alive? Or did the Nazi daddy strip the mother of custody somehow?

And what about the police officers that were killed? Were they fathers? Didn't they leave loved ones behind? Oh right. We only cry about the need to keep (crappy) dads in the lives of their children. Not good dads who actually are employed and support their families. Because they already ARE involved.

Last Updated: December 24, 2010

Death for dad, son in bank bombing - jury
By Jonathan J Cooper in Salem, Oregon From: AP December 23, 2010 11:01AM

A JURY recommended that a father and his son be sentenced to death for planting a bomb that exploded inside an Oregon bank two years ago, killing two police officers and maiming a third.

In a trial that spanned three months, prosecutors portrayed Bruce and Joshua Turnidge as bigoted men who hated authorities, were desperate for money and feared that newly-elected President Barack Obama would take away their guns.

Both defendants stood with their lawyers and stared straight forward, showing no emotion as Marion County Circuit Judge Tom Hart read the jury's decisions. Sheriff's deputies handcuffed them and led them away to be jailed until Judge Hart formally sentences them on January 24. The judge is bound by the jury's death sentence and cannot impose a lesser penalty. However, because the case involves capital punishment, it automatically will be appealed to the Oregon Supreme Court.

"It's all in God's hands. We don't know what's going to happen eventually," said Janet Turnidge, who is Bruce Turnidge's wife and Joshua Turnidge's mother. "We want to express our deep, deep sorrow for the loss that the victims' families have endured. We have been praying for them."

The same jury convicted the men December 8 on 18 counts each of aggravated murder and other charges in the December 2008 bombing at the West Coast Bank in Woodburn, about 48km south of Portland. The homemade bomb killed state police bomb technician William Hakim, who was trying to dismantle it, and Woodburn Police Captain Tom Tennant, who was helping.

"This is a murderer with no remorse," prosecutor Matt Kemmy said in his closing argument of the penalty phase on Tuesday (local time).

Both men have maintained their innocence. Father and son turned on each other in trial, each pointing the finger at the other for building and planting the bomb, which prosecutors said was part of a plan to rob the bank.

Prosecutors urged jurors to sentence the men to death to prevent them from endangering prison staff or preaching their hatred for authorities to young prisoners who will someday be released. As convicted cop killers, the Turnidges will be popular in prison, they said.

Witnesses testified that Bruce Turnidge, 59, had previously hatched detailed plans to kill people he didn't like and once fantasised about killing then-President Bill Clinton. Prosecutor Courtland Geyer told jurors that a death sentence would mean "safety from crimes that lurk inside the mind of Bruce Turnidge."

Prosecutors portrayed Joshua Turnidge, 34, as selfish and hostile to jail staff.

Jail staff testified that the younger Turnidge made rude, "hateful" and disrespectful comments that resulted in him losing privileges, the Salem Statesman Journal reported.

Jail Sergeant Megan Gonzalez said Joshua Turnidge drew a swastika over a US flag on a postcard that shows the jail facility and wrote other things including "pigs for sale!" "human rights?" and "gas chamber" on the card before trying to send it. The postcard was deemed a violation of policy.

According to testimony, father and son exulted in the Oklahoma City bombing, and Bruce Turnidge viewed Timothy McVeigh as a hero.

Defence attorneys said the men would want to behave well in prison so they could continue seeing visitors. Evelyn Knight, Bruce Turnidge's mother and Joshua's grandmother, testified that a death sentence would be devastating for Joshua's 12-year-old daughter, who is in the custody of her grandparents.

"No child should be left without a parent," defence attorney Steven Gorham said in his closing argument. "Not the survivors' children, not Joshua Turnidge's children."

The defence also argued that Joshua Turnidge would not be revered in prison but rather reviled as a snitch for testifying against his father.

The men were convicted after prosecutors argued that the Turnidges had fantasies of building bombs, robbing banks and starting an anti-government militia. They hatched the bank robbery plan because they needed money to keep their struggling biodiesel company afloat, prosecutors said.

Witnesses testified that Bruce Turnidge, who grew up in a farming family in the Willamette Valley but could not make a go of farming himself, wanted to live in a tent city with people who shared his political beliefs but couldn't get money to build an arms stockpile for a militia.

Bruce Turnidge did not take the stand, but family members denied he hated police or held extremist political views.

Joshua Turnidge testified that he bought two mobile phones and materials used to build the bomb without knowing his father planned to use them to rob a bank. He said he only figured out what happened after hearing his father muttering that no one was supposed to get hurt.

Woodburn Police Chief Scott Russell, who lost a leg in the explosion, said it was terrible that the plot ended with the murder of two police officers.

"It's really an attack on every citizen because they're the ones we protect," Chief Russell said after the jury's decision was announced.

Since 1962, only two condemned inmates have been executed in Oregon - both were men who gave up their appeals. The state has 34 men on death row, including some who were sentenced more than 20 years ago.

Oregon State Police Superintendent Chris Brown said in a statement following the verdict that the bombing has forever changed the victims' families and the police forces that employed them.

"We are grateful to the men and women who served on the jury for their attention to the facts that led to the decisions they were asked to make during this difficult trial," Superintendent Brown said.