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White City man pleads guilty to DA's office bombing attempt

A 47-year-old White City man faces 15 years in federal prison for his botched attempt at blowing up the Jackson County District Attorney's Office in November to avoid getting sent to prison the next day on a burglary case.

The scheme earned Alan Leroy McVay a week of freedom when the hearing in which he was to accept a three-year prison sentence was rescheduled, but he was arrested on arson charges a day before that new plea date was reset to occur Nov. 21.

Now he faces the 15-year sentence after pleading guilty this afternoon in U.S. District Court in Medford to one count of malicious destruction of property by explosion.

In exchange, McVay had a second count of the same charge dismissed. He also agreed to plead guilty to the burgary and theft charges he tried to avoid by the bombing, with sentencing in that case running concurrent to his federal prison time.

Sentencing was set for Aug. 18.

McVay admitted crafting an improvised pipe bomb by filling a carbon dioxide cylinder with gunpowder and taping it to the side of a 7-gallon propane tank. At about 4:30 a.m. Nov. 13, McVay lit it using a hobby fuse and hurled it through a front window of the DA's office at 715 W. 10th St.

The tank broke the window but got caught in the window's Venetian blinds and fell outside. McVay fled on foot and made it about a block away before the cylinder exploded, breaking nearby windows. But the explosion did not detonate the propane tank, which caught fire.

No one was injured and experts said most of the building would have been leveled had the bomb exploded at its full force.

The office window McVay chose to hurl his bomb was that of Deputy District Attorney David Hoppe, who was in the midst of prosecuting Bourne Huddleston, who last month was convicted of murdering his wife and attempting to hire three hit men to kill witnesses in his case.

Hoppe said an inmate also told him that Huddleston was soliciting for someone to hurt him and his family.

At the time of McVay's bombing no one knew whether it was connected to the Huddleston case, Hoppe said today outside of court.

"It's unsettling to have to take your kids out of school and make sure your house is safe," said Hoppe, who attended today's plea hearing but did not speak.

"We sign up for this," Hoppe said. "My kids didn't sign up for this."

McVay was originally charged in state court, but those charges were later dropped in lieu of federal charges, clearing up any potential conflict of interest, as the DA's staff considered the victim in the case.

— Mark Freeman