8:49 PM CDT, May 7, 2012
Five Ohio men accused of conspiring to blow up a bridge about 15 miles south of Cleveland pleaded not guilty Monday.
Authorities say Douglas L. Wright, 26, nicknamed "Cyco," joined alleged co-conspirators Brandon L. Baxter, 20, a.k.a. "Skabby," and Anthony Hayne, 37, a.k.a. "Billy," in a plot that homed in on the Brecksville-Northfield High Level Bridge, which carries a four-lane highway over the Cuyahoga River in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Connor C. Stevens, 20, and Joshua S. Stafford, 23, were also charged for their alleged roles in the scheme.
The men were arrested April 30 in an FBI sting, but posed no real danger to the public because the explosives they had were inert and were controlled by an undercover FBI employee, the bureau said in a news release.
The men have been charged with conspiracy and attempted use of explosive materials to damage physical property affecting interstate commerce.
During the court proceeding Monday, Stafford kept repeating, "Why did the federal informant approach me?"
"We cannot classify Connor as one of these five human beings," added Brelan Stevens, sister of Connor Stevens. "He's an individual, his thoughts, his plans in this, are completely different than anyone else's. So you need to look at them as individual people and not five people being tried as monster terrorists."
Authorities say at least three of the men are self-proclaimed anarchists who had considered "a series of evolving plots over several months."
They allegedly conspired to acquire plastic explosives (C-4) and build two bombs, affixing them to the bridge's support columns to be remotely detonated.
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