CLEVELAND -- A bedraggled group of five men were led into the federal courtroom of Judge Gregory White on Tuesday afternoon, where they heard the charges against them related to an alleged plot to blow up a suburban Cleveland bridge.
According to federal documents, Douglas Wright, 26, was the ringleader of the bunch. According to federal authorities, this wasn’t the first time he’d been in trouble with the law.
Wright was from Bloomington, Indiana and had done time on a felony charge. He was being recorded by a confidential informant working with federal agents when he was overheard saying he did not want to go back to prison. Wright more recently lived in Columbus and in Newark, Ohio.
20-year-old Brandon Baxter grew up in Lakewood and graduated from Lakewood High School. His mother, Wendy Raymond, told Fox 8’s Lorrie Taylor she hadn’t spoken with her son in more than two years.
Baxter moved out shortly after his graduation and had been living with his father in Lakewood. Raymond said she never knew her son to be violent or political. He had been arrested back in January while protesting with the Cleveland arm of Occupy Wall Street.
According to Raymond, her son’s illegal behavior may have been motivated by the foreclosure of his father’s home, which is listed in the Cuyahoga County docket.
Anthony Hayne is the oldest of the bunch at the age of 35. He is also from Lakewood and has been in and out of Cleveland municipal court on various charges over the years, most of them were traffic offenses, but there was one arrest for drugs.
20 year old Connor Stevens is from Berea and has family is still in the area. They came to the federal courthouse in Cleveland hoping to speak with the 20 year old but were ushered out of the courtroom by an officer.
“I just wanted to say hello,” said his father, James Stevens.
23 year old Joshua Stafford is from Newark, where Wright also lived. Like his friends, he is accused of conspiracy and the attempted use of explosive devices. If found guilty, each of the accused could spend up to 25 years in federal prison.
They are being held in the custody of the U.S. Marshal until a detention hearing can be held on Monday.