SALT LAKE CITY — In August, Brandon Easter of Farmington was indicted on charges of possession of a pipe bomb that FBI agents found in his home last August.
On Thursday, Easter was released for the near-six months he's served and sentenced to five months home confinement by U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups. He was also sentenced to a term of 36 months probation, during which he will not be able to possess a firearm or have contact with extremist groups, especially white supremacists.
When Easter was arrested, the FBI was unsure of what Easter's motive was for building the pipe bomb. He apologized Thursday for his actions and said he'd never "been in trouble like this before."
"I'm pretty much scared to death right now," he said. "I'm sorry. What I did was completely stupid and I had no idea of the magnitude of what it was. But I can tell you now, I'll never do it again."
Prosecutor John Huber said Easter was hoping to use the device to "find hidden Spanish gold in Central Utah." He said he asked the judge to order Easter to stay away from white supremacists, not because Easter is known to belong to such groups, but because members of the group may have "turned him to the wrong way."
Though the recommended guideline range was 24 to 30 months in prison, the judge went with the recommendation of Easter's attorney, which was to release the man for time served. Defense attorney Randy Ludlow argued that Easter was always cooperative and didn't pose a danger to the community.
Waddoups said he had received a number of letters in behalf of Easter and there were other factors that supported the lesser sentence. Easter will spend his time in home confinement with his parents, though he has permission to attend church services, school events for his children, and appointments for psychological, substance abuse and medical treatment programs.
"You have a wonderful group of people who support you," Waddoups said. "This is an opportunity to put your life back together and I believe you can ... I hope you appreciate the significance of this opportunity."