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Crime and Courts

Kansas Men Accused Of Plot To Attack Immigrants Get Lawyers

garden_city_terrorism.jpg
Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office
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Gavin Wright, Curtis Allen and Patrick Stein are each charged with conspiring to detonate a homemade explosive at an apartment complex where Muslim immigrants from Somalia live.

Updated Monday, 3:30 p.m.:

The three men accused of plotting to attack Somali Muslim immigrants in Garden City made their first appearance in court Monday.

The defendants appeared before federal court Judge Gwynne Birzer at the U.S. Courthouse in downtown Wichita.

Curtis Allen, Gavin Wright and Patrick Stein are each charged with one count of conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction. They were arrested last week in connection with an alleged plot to bomb a Garden City apartment complex that's home to Muslim immigrants from Somalia.

Wright and Stein were each assigned a private attorney under the Criminal Justice Act; Allen will be appointed a federal defender.

Federal prosecutor Tony Mattivi is requesting that the defendants stay in custody for the duration of their trials because they “pose a danger to the community.” Detention hearings have been set for Wright and Stein on Friday, and for Allen next Monday.

A joint preliminary hearing has also been scheduled for later this month, but attorney Ed Robinson, who represents Patrick Stein, said it's likely that a grand jury will return an indictment before then. Robinson and the other attorneys would not comment on the case further.

Stein's family released a statement Monday through their lawyer in which they express gratitude that law enforcement intervened in the planned attack.

"The Stein family is shocked and devastated by the news we received last Friday," they wrote. "We do not support discrimination of any sort and have never advocated or condoned violence as a solution to differences."

Gov. Sam Brownback also responded to the incident on Monday, thanking the law enforcement.

"They stopped what could have been a horrific event," he said. "This sort of hate and violence doesn't have any place in this country, let alone in our state."

None of the three men live in Garden City, a town known for its diverse community. According to the complaint released Friday by the FBI and Acting U.S. Attorney for Kansas Tom Beall that details the eight-month investigation into the plot, the defendants "have routinely expressed a hatred for Muslims, individuals of Somali descent, and immigrants." They chose the apartment complex--which also housed a mosque--"based on their hatred of these groups."

If convicted, the men could be sentenced to life in federal prison.

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