Cesar Sayoc mailed 16 homemade pipe bombs to people including Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and CNN last year. He was eventually caught after the FBI found a fingerprint on one of the packages and connected it to Sayoc via a prior arrest. Sayoc pleaded guilty to mailing the packages back in March and today he was sentenced to 20 years in prison for his crimes. That was less than the life sentence prosecutors wanted but double the 10 years his attorneys were recommending.
Mr. Sayoc’s lawyers, who are federal public defenders, had asked Judge Jed S. Rakoff of Federal District Court in Manhattan to impose a prison sentence of 10 years, which would have been the mandatory minimum Mr. Sayoc faced plus one month.
At the time of his arrest, they said, Mr. Sayoc was suffering from the untreated mental illness, compounded by excessive steroid use, and he had become increasingly obsessive, isolated and paranoid.
“In this darkness,” the lawyers wrote, “Mr. Sayoc found light in Donald J. Trump.”
The defense attorneys also argued that Sayoc intended to scare people with the devices but didn’t intend to kill anyone:
In Mr. Sayoc’s mind, the devices were “designed to look like pipe bombs,” they said, but they were a hoax to scare his targets.
“He did not actually want to kill or physically injure anyone,” they said, “and he did not think that the devices were capable of exploding.”
Each device consisted of plastic pipe with a digital alarm clock and attached wires, Mr. Sayoc told Judge Rakoff in March as he pleaded guilty to 65 counts, including using a weapon of mass destruction and interstate transportation of an explosive.
According to the FBI, the devices “would not have functioned as a result of their design.” However, they did contain the contents of fireworks and other chemicals which potentially could have detonated if exposed to enough heat or vibration. Sayoc admitted that he was aware the devices had the potential to explode:
At Sayoc’s guilty plea, he insisted the devices were “intended to look like pipe bombs,” but that he did not mean for them to detonate. Pressed by the judge to explain further, Sayoc added, “I was aware of the risk that they would explode.”
Sayoc did express regret for his crimes, saying he now realizes he was a sick man:
“I am beyond so very sorry for what I did,” Sayoc told U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff. “Now that I am a sober man, I know that I was a sick man. I should have listened to my mother, the love of my life.”…
He was definitely sick and is now getting what he deserves for trying to terrorize people.