OAKLAND — After deliberating for two days, a federal jury convicted an East Bay man of mailing bombs to two law enforcement officers he believed had unduly harassed him, prosecutors said.
Ross Gordon Laverty, 59, of Oakland, was convicted of mailing bombs to a corrections officer and a retired policeman. Both the bombs exploded and injured those who opened them, but neither victim was Laverty’s intended target, according to authorities.
Laverty was linked through DNA by the bombs, which prosecutors said had a remarkably similar design. But he took his case to trial and argued that he’d been framed by a third-party who was really behind the plot. Jurors began deliberating last Friday.
In one case, Laverty intended to send a bomb to a corrections officer who Laverty believed had “lied” during a cell search and caused him to spend seven weeks in jail when he was found with drug contraband. The second intended target, a retired Alameda police sergeant, searched Laverty’s home years ago, which Laverty wrote in his journal was a disgrace to his family, prosecutors said in trial briefs.
In both instances, someone else ended up setting off bombs, which Laverty rigged into packages and sent in the mail. In one case, he sent the bomb to a man that simply had the same name as the corrections officer, who suffered injuries to his hand, abdomen, and eardrums.
The second bomb, sent to Berkeley, exploded when the retired sergeant’s wife cut it open. But she escaped saw wires sticking out of the package, threw it to the ground, and as a result escaped serious injury, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors introduced a bomb making expert, as well as a forensic technician who testified that DNA found on the batteries to a bomb matched Laverty. They also showed jurors entries from Laverty’s journal that include references to blowing someone’s face off with a pipe bomb.
A sentencing date has not yet been set. Laverty faces up to 20 years alone on two convictions of mailing injurious devices.