WICHITA, Kan. – A Kansas man has waived a detention hearing and pleaded not guilty in what prosecutors say was a conspiracy by a militia group to detonate truck bombs at an apartment complex in Garden City where 120 Somali immigrants live.
Gavin Wright’s decision means the 51-year-old from Liberal remains in federal custody pending trial.
Defense attorney Kari Schmidt told the court she and Wright have concerns about his safety if he’s released. Wright has no criminal history.
Patrick Stein also pleaded not guilty to conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction.
During his detention hearing, the prosecution presented more than a hundred screenshots of conversations between Stein and an FBI undercover agent.
One of them referenced a conversation about a meeting that Stein, Wright and Curtis Allen all attended on August 14th.
The prosecution says it discussed attacking the mosque in Garden City and spoke about dividing up the tasks they would carry out in the plot.
The prosecution went on to read more conversations Stein and the undercover agent had.
In one such conversation, Stein was quoted as saying “brother, I’ve never been more ready and serious to defend the country and the constitution at all costs.”
The prosecution says weapons, such as long guns and high powered explosives were a topic of discussion.
The prosecution says Stein thought this attack would inspire others to do the same, and that this planned attack on the Garden City mosque would be just first of many.
Edward Robinson, the defense attorney for Patrick Stein says his client was only preparing to defend himself against massive social upheaval.
Prosecutors say he was the leader of a militia group called “The Crusaders.”
U.S. Magistrate Judge Gwynne Birzer ruled that Stein would remain in jail while he awaits trial. Birzer said Stein poses a “grave danger.”
Robinson says his client was led by the government’s paid informant and a FBI undercover agent.