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Sunday, May 19, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

West, Texas Paramedic|Sentenced to 21 Months

WACO (CN) - A paramedic from West, Texas, which was devastated in April by a fertilizer plant explosion, was sentenced Wednesday to 21 months in federal prison for possessing bomb-making materials and attempting to obstruct justice.

Bryce Ashley Reed, 31, also was fined $2,000 by U.S. District Judge Walter S. Smith.

Reed pleaded guilty in October to conspiring to make an unregistered destructive device and attempting to obstruct justice.

The pipe bomb materials were not assembled into a destructive device, reducing the sentencing range to 15 to 21 months. Had he assembled a bomb, Reed could have faced up to 25 years in federal prison.

During his sentencing hearing, Reed denied any involvement with the explosion of the West Fertilizer Company, which killed 15 people and flattened a large part of the town.

He said he became emotionally unstable after the explosion due to the death of a close friend who was a first responder in the blast.

"I completely broke down," Reed said. "I am so very sorry for the actions that followed, the community I affected and the department I failed."

Prosecutors said Reed's home was damaged by the explosion, and that, knowing investigators might find the materials in his home, he had two people go to his home to retrieve the ammunition cans and bomb-making materials and bring them to him.

Reed then told another person to "get rid of this," and the person put the box in a spare bedroom in an Abbott, Texas, home, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement.

That person notified the McLennan County Sheriff's Office after looking in the box for the first time one month later.

Reed's attorney Jonathan Sibley told the Dallas Morning News that the materials were ordered online to make fireworks for entertainment, and were never intended to harm anyone or property.

"This is just a case of a couple guys who live out in the country who had no idea what they were getting into," Sibley told the newspaper.

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