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Trial set for Brecksville "bridge bomber"
Joshua Stafford may decide to represent himself 

Mark Urycki
Joshua Stafford
Courtesy of U.S. attorneys office
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The last remaining defendant in the Route (root) 82 bridge-bombing case is set to stand trial June 10th. Judge David Dowd scheduled the date for Joshua Stafford this morning (Thurs) in federal court in Akron. But, as WKSU’s Mark Urycki reports, it’s unclear whether a trial will actually take place.

URYCKI updates the Joshua Stafford case

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Judge Dowd had ruled 23-year-old Joshua Stafford is competent to stand trial earlier this week.   Stafford’s attorney Tim Ivey told the court that Stafford will go to trial but is still considering an alternative resolution – meaning a plea agreement with prosecutors.  Four of the other five defendants in the case reached such agreements.  They plead guilty to attempting to blow up the Route 82 bridge over the National Park in Brecksville.  A government informant arranged the plot and gave them fake explosives. No bomb was ever set off.

Stafford, who was wearing chains on his wrist and ankles, also let the judge know he was considering representing himself in trial, something that Judge Dowd warned him against.  While the judge was explaining the matter Stafford looked at a door in the back of the courtroom and Dowd had to interject “Mr. Stafford, if I can have your attention.” Dowd went on to say that he’s already ruled the crimes carry terrorism enhancements so the sentence could be severe. He told Stafford that he would only be allowed to testify on his own behalf from the witness stand. 

Dowd also noted that the June 10th trial could be derailed by the federal budget cutbacks caused by the sequestration agreement.  It threatens to cut federal courts 5% to 8% and force layoffs of federal defense attorneys. The judge said it could force a delay but for now, he’s “not going to worry about it.” 
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