2 plead guilty in Ferguson bomb plot case

Reuters / Jim Young
Two men have pleaded guilty to multiple explosives and weapons charges and now admit that they had in fact plotted to blow up a police station in Ferguson, Missouri after black teenager Michael Brown was killed by police officer Darren Wilson.

Authorities had arrested the two last November after a lengthy investigation led police to believe that Davis and Baldwin were seriously considering a violent attack as unrest prompted by Brown’s death began to spread. Two days after their arrests were announced a federal grand jury said it would not be charging former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the teen’s death, reigniting rallies in the Greater St. Louis region and across the country.

"The disruption of this plot, coming as it did on the eve of the expected Grand Jury announcement, undoubtedly saved lives," said US Attorney Richard Callahan. "Luckily for all of us, we'll never know just how many."

Prosecutors alleged that Davis, a member of the New Black Panthers, and Baldwin, an employee of a sporting goods store, conspired to blow up buildings with crude pipe bombs and had singled out the St. Louis County prosecutor and the Chief of the Ferguson Police Department as potential targets.


On Tuesday, the two men each pleaded guilty to four felony counts: conspiracy to damage or destroy a building, vehicles and other property by use of an explosive; conspiracy to make false written statements in connection with the purchase of firearms; the transfer of firearms to a felon and two felony counts of abetting in the making of false written statements in connection with a firearms purchase.

The two met during protests in Ferguson last year following Brown’s death and discussed buying guns to arm protesters, prosecutors alleged.

READ MORE: Ferguson grand jury decision divides America LIVE UPDATES

Once police were tipped off, they began tracking conversations between the two and suspected that Baldwin would use his access to a licensed firearm retailer to supply weapons. Indeed, he admitted to investigators that he purchased three guns using falsified federal forms in which he lied and said they were for him.

Baldwin told an informant during one monitored meeting that he wanted to build “bombs and blow things up,” according to plea documents seen by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and “hit them in places where it hurt, hit someone important.” In another occurrence, he told an informer that he and David wanted at least 10 bombs that could be used to target police assets. The two were eventually arrested after Davis paid $150 for what he believed to be explosives from a supposed dealer working on behalf of the authorities.

According to the Post-Dispatch, David and Baldwin can expect seven-year prison stints to be handed down when they are sentenced on August 31.

“I’m assembling a team of experts from the government and private sector to examine the inactivation processes. They will report preliminary findings and recommendations by the end of June,” Kendall said. “The final report depends upon the completion of the CDC’s investigation.”

The Pentagon promised to update the number of labs that received the live samples on a daily basis, as the investigation continues.