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Bridge Bomb Plot Suspects Plead Not Guilty

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CLEVELAND — The five suspects who are accused of organizing a plot to blow up the Route 82 bridge in Brecksville faced a federal court judge on Monday.

Paraded in court with their prison-issued orange jump suits and flanked by their attorneys, Douglas Wright, Brandon L. Baxter, Anthony Hayne, Connor C. Stevens, and Joshua Stafford entered a not guilty plea to three counts in the case.

United States Federal Prosecutor Duncan Brown announced to the standing room only court audience two charges for use of weapons of mass destruction and aiding and abetting the government in the use of explosive materials.

Stafford’s plea didn’t come easily, when Ninth Northern District Judge Gregory instructed him of the charges.

He informed his attorney, Tim Ivey, to enter the plea for him.

As he was ushered out of the courtroom, Stafford explained, “A federal informant approached him to go along with the idea.”

White told the court that the plea would be accepted, and the case would not be dismissed.

“He cares about the Earth, he cares about humanity, and he’s a beautiful soul,” said James Stevens, whose son, Connor, is accused of being connected to the scheme.  “He knows what good is in the world and this hurts him deeply,” Stevens explained.

He then greeted, thanked, and hugged some of the 50 friends and family members in a sign of support on the steps of federal court house.

Ninth Northern District Judge Gregory White presided over the hearing.

He ruled that a pre-scheduled detention hearing will be continued until a later date, explaining that he will allow five separate attorneys to review all records in the case.

If convicted on the all the charges, they face a sentence of life in prison along with a $250,000 fine.