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Mentally Ill Man Gets 15 Years in Prison for Plotting to Blow up Bank of America in California

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A homegrown terror plot in California was so fanciful and bizarre that few people believe the California suspect could have pulled it off.

Nevertheless, a judge sentenced Aaron Llaneza to 15 years in prison Thursday for trying to blow up a Bank of America in Oakland with a fake bomb, which investigators provided, the Associated Press reports.

Llaneza, who is mentally ill, doesn’t have the capacity to do actual damage, his attorney said.

“Matthew was not a radicalized jihadist but rather a delusional, severely mentally disturbed young man; he had no technical skills to speak of,”  Assistant Federal Public Defender Jerome Matthews wrote in a memo. “He had no training or background that would have helped him to accomplish an actual bombing; he was preternaturally suggestible and desirous of being accepted; and, not least, he had no desire to inflict mass casualties.”

Federal investigators disagreed.

“Defendants’ offense conduct here was very serious. He knowingly and willfully participated in a plan to blow up a bank building. He created the plan and selected the target. He helped build what he believed to be a large bomb to accomplish the plan. He drove the bomb to the bank building, placed it in a location designed to maximize its destructive force, then attempted to detonate it twice,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Caputo wrote in the memo. “Had the bomb been real, it would have destroyed at least a portion of the building and easily could have killed or seriously injured innocent bystanders.”


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