Kevin William Harpham, a man with ties to white-supremacist groups, pleaded guilty today to placing an improvised explosive device alongside the planned Martin Luther King Jr. Day Unity March on Jan. 17, 2011, in Spokane, Wash. Federal officials say this development "highlights the threat posed by hate-motivated violence":

From KEPR-TV:

On March 9, 2011, Harpham was arrested and charged by complaint with the crimes of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and possession of an unregistered explosive device. Today, Harpham pleaded guilty to two counts of a superseding indictment, charging Harpham with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and attempt to commit a federal hate crime. The Martin Luther King Jr. Day Unity March was attended by hundreds of individuals, including racial minorities. The explosive device placed by Harpham was capable of inflicting serious injury or death, according to laboratory analysis conducted by the FBI.

"I commend the law enforcement efforts at all phases of the investigation and prosecution of this matter," said Michael C. Ormsby, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington. "This was one of the most thorough investigations that I have ever seen and involved multi-levels of law enforcement and multiple offices and other professionals … "

"Today's guilty plea highlights the threat posed by hate-motivated violence. I applaud the federal, state, and local officials who work tirelessly to identify, confront and defeat such threats, including the law enforcement officials who are responsible for the outstanding investigation in this case," said Lisa Monaco, Assistant Attorney General for National Security.

The plea agreement calls for a sentence of between 27 and 32 years in prison as well as a lifetime of court supervision.

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