Glendon Scott Crawford, 52, was convicted in August 2015 on three counts, including conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction that some in the media nicknamed a “death ray.”
The U.S. Navy veteran, who worked at General Electric, researched radiation dispersal devices to figure out the level of emission that would kill people. Crawford planned to target the president and expressed hatred of Muslims in secretly recorded conversations with a law enforcement source. He also scouted a local mosque as a potential target.
Federal prosecutors, who sought a life sentence, gave this statement in a pre-sentencing document:
“His plot to murder people he did not know was designed to, in his oft-repeated words, ‘take his country back’ from government leaders by forcing them to change government conduct he perceived as favoring Muslims.”
The defense team argued that Crawford was entrapped, stating in court documents that federal agents constructed the device and Crawford “never intended to endanger human life through the release of radiation or of radioactive nuclides.” They plan to appeal his conviction and sentence.
Co-conspirator Eric Feight pleaded guilty and received an 8-year sentence.
Reuters said Crawford is the first person convicted under a 2004 anti-terrorism law to punish those who try to explode a radioactive dirty bomb.