Fake Bomb Suspect Pleads Guilty To Firearms Charge
The Elkins man accused of strapping a fake bomb to a woman’s ankle before she entered a Fayetteville bank pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to a separate felony firearms charge.
Paul Lewis Bradley, 60, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Fayetteville to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. He faces a sentence of up to 10 years and a $250,000 fine, said District Judge Jimm Larry Hendren.
With the guilty plea, Bradley waived his right to a jury trial, Hendren said. The judge also told Bradley convictions in federal court do not include the possibility of parole.
Bradley still faces nine felony charges in connection with the bank incident and is scheduled for an Oct. 3 trial date in Washington County District Court on those charges, according to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
Bradley’s guilty plea Tuesday was entered after his attorney and the federal prosecutor reached a plea agreement allowing a second charge to be dismissed in exchange for the guilty plea. Bradley had originally entered a plea of not guilty on the firearms charge.
David Harris, assistant U.S. attorney, said he is not allowed to specify what the dismissed charge is until Bradley is sentenced.
Hendren said sentencing will occur at a later date. After the hearing, Harris said sentencing often occurs in 30 to 60 days unless unexpected issues arise.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Harris said federal agents serving a warrant at Bradley’s home on Jan. 11 discovered two .22-caliber rifles in his master bedroom.The agents were from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Harris said
Bradley was prohibited by law from possessing firearms after having been convicted in March 2011 on a felony theft-by-deception charge, Harris said. Bradley had been accused of accepting a $10,000 down payment for contract labor but never performed the work, court records show.
Bradley appeared in federal court with his county public defense attorney, Kimberly Weber, who at times provided Bradley with tissues to wipe away his tears. At one point the judge called a recess so Bradley, clad in orange-and-white horizontal striped detention center garb, could compose himself. The judge also offered Bradley an opportunity to be seated during the hearing, but Bradley declined.
Weber sometimes rubbed Bradley’s back during the brief hearing to comfort him and told the judge she is worried about her client’s health. She said Bradley is on medication for heart problems and over the years has had seven heart stents.
Hendren told Weber if she wanted a change in Bradley’s restraint status because of his health issues she would have to file a proper motion. The judge asked Bradley about his health, and the defendant said he had been having trouble with his feet.
The firearms charge is separate from the bomb incident in January when police say Bradley tried to extort a woman by forcing her to withdraw money from an Arvest Bank on West Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The apparent bomb strapped to the woman was fake, and no one was injured.
The following account from CNN details what occurred during the bank incident:
Authorities in Fayetteville arrested Bradley three days after 73-year-old Betty Davis walked into a bank and told a teller she had a bomb fastened to her ankle.
Her husband, Dean Davis, said at the time he has known Bradley for some time.
Washington County Sheriff Tim Helder told reporters Bradley strapped the phony bomb onto Betty Davis and took her to the bank to force her to withdraw money from her account. Once inside, she told a teller about the plot and that she had been followed to the Arvest Bank branch.
“I felt like I needed to get out of that bank and get everyone out of danger,” Betty Davis said. “If he did what he said he was going to do, he would blow it up and hurt all those people.”
After Betty Davis talked to police, they went to the couple’s home and found Dean Davis tied up, police said.
The assailant wore a mask and said little, so the couple was unable to identify their attacker at first.
“I would have never imagined that of him and never thought he would do something like that,” Dean Davis said.
Helder said that authorities “couldn’t have had better victims than the Davises.”
“They were very calm and collected, and she helped us identify the vehicle,” he said.