Bombing suspect pleads not guilty, set for February trial

A February trial is set for the man charged with detonating a makeshift bomb last month outside the Jackson County District Attorney's office.

Alan Leroy McVay, 46, pleaded not guilty this afternoon in U.S. District Court to two counts of malicious destruction of property by explosion. A federal grand jury Dec. 5 returned an indictment against McVay, a White City resident. The District Attorney dropped earlier state charges of arson against McVay, a common practice when prosecution falls under federal jurisdiction, which also resolves any potential conflict of interest because the DA's office is considered the crime victim.

The two counts in McVay's indictment establish the DA's office as an institution that receives federal financial assistance and also affects interstate commerce. McVay is charged with damaging and attempting to damage the building at 715 W. 10th St., Medford, by means of an explosive and fire. His trial is scheduled for Feb. 11.

Investigators said McVay taped a small pipe bomb to a propane tank, ignited the pipe bomb and threw the device at a window of the DA's office before dawn Nov. 13. The bomb broke windows but did little other damage when the propane tank failed to explode. Police arrested McVay Nov. 20 on a tip.

McVay told police he set off the bomb hoping to avoid a Nov. 14 court hearing and 36-month prison sentence he expected to face in a negotiated plea to burglary and other charges. An FBI agent's affidavit gave details of McVay's statements to investigators and to his imprisoned conspirator in the burglary.

McVay has an extensive criminal history in Jackson County, with arrests and convictions for drug possession, burglaries, thefts and aggravated thefts, court records show.

— Sarah Lemon

Read more in Thursday's paper.

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