07/21/2013

Ariz. bombing suspect faces attempted murder counts

Authorities say Abdullatif Ali Aldosary researched bomb-making materials and gathered chemicals before detonating the device about 50 miles south of Phoenix

By Brian Skoloff
Associated Press

PHOENIX — An Iraqi man charged with detonating a homemade explosive device outside a Social Security Administration building in Arizona has been indicted on 14 state counts of attempted murder.

Authorities say Abdullatif Ali Aldosary researched bomb-making materials and gathered chemicals before detonating the explosive outside the office in Casa Grande on Nov 30. No one was injured in the blast about 50 miles south of Phoenix.

Aldosary, 48, initially faced five federal counts, including weapons and explosives charges, to which he pleaded not guilty.

A judge has dismissed two of those charges related to the bombing at the request of federal prosecutors who indicated the state charges would cover the same conduct.

Aldosary still faces three federal weapons counts alleging he is a felon who was in possession of firearms and ammunition.

Recently unsealed documents show a grand jury in Pinal County indicted Aldosary on July 10 on 18 counts, including attempted murder, arson and use of explosives.

His federal public defender did not return messages from The Associated Press on Friday. It wasn't clear if Aldosary had a new attorney for the state charges.

"We appreciate the confidence and trust the FBI placed with the Pinal County Attorney's Office to prosecute this case and we certainly will," County Attorney Lando Voyles said in a statement.

Prosecutors declined further comment on the case.

The attempted murder charges, according to the indictment, appear to pertain to witnesses and Social Security employees who were in the area at the time of the explosion.

Authorities have declined to provide details about the case, including any motive or whether Aldosary is suspected of working alone or with others. A news conference was planned for Monday.

Aldosary came to the United States legally in 1997 from his home country of Iraq.

In 2008, he pleaded guilty to felony aggravated harassment charges. He was sentenced to two months in jail and three years of probation. But his probation was revoked a year later, and he was ordered to serve a year in prison.

Aldosary had sought help from U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar's office in 2011 in obtaining permanent residency. Gosar has said he contacted Homeland Security, which responded in a letter that Aldosary's case had been put on hold "pursuant to the terrorism-related grounds of inadmissibility" under a section of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Authorities say he was denied a green card in 2008 because he fought with anti-government forces trying to overthrow former Iraq dictator Saddam Hussein in Basra, Iraq, in 1991.

Gosar's office questioned why the man hadn't been deported.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said Aldosary's previous arrests on harassment charges and a probation violation weren't considered deportable offenses.

Aldosary again requested a green card, but federal immigration officials flagged it for a potential review of his status in the U.S. after his arrest in the bombing case.

Authorities say a search of Aldosary's home turned up documents hidden behind a picture that explained how to build a bomb. Aldosary also sought information on how to create explosive material known as RDX, "considered one of the most powerful of the military high explosives," according to the initial criminal complaint. "RDX is believed to have been used in many bomb plots, including terrorist plots."

Authorities also seized a handgun and rifle at Aldosary's home, along with hundreds of rounds of ammunition and several gallons of chemicals that could be used to make a bomb, according to court documents.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press

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