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Man gets time served for attempted arson at courthouse

April 18, 2022 GMT

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A federal judge has sentenced a 23-year-old man to the approximately year and a half he has spent in custody for an attempted arson at the federal courthouse in Portland.

Prosecutors said Joseph Ybarra lit a device and threw it at the front of the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse about 3:15 a.m. on July 22, 2020, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.

An agent with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said the device fell and Ybarra picked it up and threw it twice more. It didn’t explode and no one was injured.

His lawyer says Ybarra had just arrived in Portland and had intended to turn himself into authorities on an arrest warrant but he was unable to enter the Justice Center because of a crowd protesting police brutality.

Instead, he “got wrapped up in it,” said his lawyer, Andrew Kohlmetz.

Ybarra was intoxicated at the time and suffers from schizophrenia, his lawyer said.

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“This was most certainly not a politically motivated act of terrorism,” Kohlmetz told the court.

The federal courthouse and Justice Center in downtown Portland became a regular focus of demonstrations during more than 100 consecutive days of social justice protests that began after a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd on May 25, 2020.