Arizona man Michael Roy Turney, 62, was reportedly bent on “death, vengeance and mass murder” – and he had all the bombs, weapons and plans with which to achieve it, according to a news release from the District of Arizona’s U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Michael Roy Turney/AZ Republic photo

Turney outlined his plan of mass destruction in his “Diary of a Madman Martyr,” the East Valley Tribune reports, a 97-page manifesto of sorts that outlined his scheme to attack a local electrical workers’ union hall for vengeance of his step-daughter’s death.

Turney pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of unregistered destructive devices and was sentenced this week to the statutory maximum sentence.

What’s the maximum sentence for such an alleged grand scheme to kill, kill, kill?

A paltry 10 years.

Perhaps sentencing guidelines need some exceptions for people who pen things called “Diary of a Madman Martyr.”

Turney’s hand-written notes, just one chunk of evidence police found in his house with their 2008 search warrant, put his whole plan down on paper.

He had letters addressed to family members and news outlets, the latter with cover letters explaining, “Inside this envelope you will find my last writings that may give some insight how I got to this point in life that my death, vengeance and mass murder ….”

Turney apparently believed two local union members were responsible for killing his step-daughter, Alissa, who went missing nearly 10 years ago. He claims she is buried in Desert Center, Calif.

His plan was to use his van in an attack on the local International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers’ union hall.

Turney allegedly intended to set his van on fire, barrel it into the fenced properly of the union 640 headquarters and shoot off 100 rounds of ammunition “at anyone moving.”

So many explosives were in his home police evacuated 21 nearby residences during the search.

Turney’s collection of mass destruction included 29 explosive devices, consisting of three incendiary devices and 26 pipe bombs.

The smaller pipe bombs were packed with gunpowder and steel shot while the largest of the lot, a pipe 2-feet long with a 6-inch diameter, also contained roofing nails.

An ATF agent, who called Turney’s cache one of the largest pipe bomb seizures in Arizona, said packing the bombs with steel shot and roofing nails “was consistent with someone intending to increase the lethality of the explosive devices and cause death or serious physical injuries to his intended victims.”

All bombs were assembled and set with fuses.

The bombs were in good company with Turney’s collection of 15 weapons. These included an array of handguns, shotguns and semi-automatic rifles, one of the rifles outfitted with a bi-pod and double barrel magazine containing 97 rounds of ammunition.

Two illegal silencers and a ballistic vest rounded out the mix.

The van in the backyard was also set to go. It contained three full propane tanks as well as 5-gallon gas canisters full of gasoline and other flammable liquids.

If the van blew up, its additional liquids of bleach, ammonia and calcium hypochlorite (HTC), “would have been toxic and poisonous for persons within the immediate surrounding atmosphere,” the FBI Laboratory, Hazardous Materials Response Unit warned in the release.

Police found a large brick next to the van’s gas pedal, which would work to keep the van barreling forward as Turney concentrated on firing rounds at the union door and anyone or anything else in his range.

If Turney does serve the full 10-year sentence, he would be 72 when released and possibly still spry enough to carry out mass murder.

Besides, sitting in a cell for a decade may give him time to further enhance his scheme – and build up more anger.

Small sentences for potentially large crimes are reminiscent of the slap on the wrists would-be killers sometimes get in domestic violence cases.

Even if someone threatens to murder his or her significant other, the law often cannot do much until the victim is already dead.


The players:
The investigation in this case was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Phoenix Police Department and the Arizona Department of Public Safety. The prosecution is being handled by David A. Pimsner and Michael T. Morrissey, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Phoenix. The sentencing was by U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton.

The quote:

“The cache of dangerous weapons found in Turney’s house were not for decoration-they put hundreds of Arizonans at risk ,” said Dennis Burke, U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona. “Turney was living in a world of delusion, was armed to the max with live bombs and ammunition and had formulated a plan to harm Arizonans. I commend the prosecutors and investigators for removing this dangerous individual from our community.”

What do you think?

Did Turney get off easy or is 10 years enough?

Will prison do anything useful for him?