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Man who tried to blow up DA's office faces 15 years in prison

A White City man who attempted to blow up the Jackson County District Attorney's Office in November with a homemade bomb will be sentenced Monday in federal court, likely to 15 years in prison.

Alan Leroy McVay, 47, pleaded guilty May 12 in U.S. District Court in Medford to one count of malicious destruction of property by explosion.

A sentencing memorandum outlining the recommended punishment for McVay was filed by federal prosecutors Wednesday. The agreement included 180 months in prison and restitution of nearly $15,000 for damages to the office.

As a part of his plea bargain, McVay had a second count of the same charge dismissed. He also agreed to plead guilty to Jackson County burglary and theft charges stemming from 2011 and 2012. When McVay tried to bomb the DA's office in Medford, he said, he wanted to destroy paperwork so his burglary-theft case would be dismissed, records show.

A hearing in which he was to accept a three-year prison sentence for the burglary and theft charges was rescheduled after the Nov. 13 bombing, but he was arrested on arson charges Nov. 20, one day before the new plea date.

McVay is scheduled to appear in Jackson County Circuit Court for a change-of-plea hearing Aug. 21 concerning those charges, Oregon Judicial Department records show.

McVay admitted to making 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, he lit it using a hobby fuse and hurled it through a front window of the district attorney's office at 715 W. 10th St.

The tank broke the window but got caught in the window's Venetian blinds. McVay fled on foot and made it about a block away before the cylinder exploded, blowing out more of the building windows. The explosion ejected the device from the building, but did not detonate the fire-spewing propane tank.

While no one was injured, explosives experts said most of the building could have been leveled had the bomb exploded at its full force.

In a letter to presiding federal Judge Owen M. Panner, Jackson County District Attorney Beth Heckert said, "I believe the court needs to send a strong message to Mr. McVay and anyone else who would consider attacking the criminal justice system that it won't be tolerated and the consequences are severe.

"This was not only an attack on our office but an attack on the entire criminal justice system."

Reach reporter Sam Wheeler at 541-776-4471 or swheeler@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/swhlr.