A white supremacist imprisoned on accusations that he intended to use a “death ray” to kill Muslims and President Barack Obama is slated to be sentenced on Monday in federal court in Albany, New York.
Navy veteran Glendon Scott Crawford, 52, is a self-proclaimed supporter of the Ku Klux Klan. He was found guilty at a hearing of conniving with another man to assemble a radiation dispersal device, called a “death ray” by tabloids, in August 2015
Crawford is the first individual to be convicted of trying to secure or use a radiological dispersal device, a law passed by Congress in 2004 to punish people who attempt to detonate a so-called “dirty bomb,” which fuses regular explosives with radioactive material.
Eric Feight, Crawford’s co-conspirator, pleaded guilty in association with the case and was sentenced to eight years and one month in prison.
U.S. prosecutors in Albany are pursuing life in prison for Crawford’s conviction on three counts, involving conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction. He faces a required minimum of 25 years.
In a pre-sentencing court filing, prosecutors wrote, “His plot to murder people he did not know was designed to, in his oft-repeated words, ‘take his country back’ from government leaders by forcing them to change government conduct he perceived as favoring Muslims.”
Crawford studied radiation dispersal devices comprehensively, finding out what level of discharge was required to kill humans and scouting possible targets, including a local mosque, authorities said.
Crawford talked frequently of his dislike of Muslims and said he would aim for Obama in the White House with the device in discussions taped without his knowledge by an undercover law enforcement source.
Defense lawyers contended futilely at trial that the government deceived Crawford. They penned in court papers that federal agents built the device in question and that Crawford never really planned to use it.
Danielle Neroni, Crawford’s attorney, wrote, “Mr. Crawford maintains that he never intended to endanger human life through the release of radiation or of radioactive nuclides.”
Notwithstanding the fact that Crawford must serve more than 25 years in prison under federal law based on his offenses, Neroni has requested U.S. District Judge Gary Sharpe to sentence Crawford to the same term as Feight.