Would-be bomber pleads guilty
A man who allegedly carried a grudge for 45 years pleaded guilty Tuesday to a charge he attempted to ignite a weapon of mass destruction at a Nederland police station but says he was coerced into doing so.
David Michael Ansberry, 65, had previously pleaded not guilty to a charge of knowingly using or attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. Through his attorney’s court filings, Ansberry indicated his desire to change his plea in U.S. District Court in Denver.
Ansberry was fidgety during the plea hearing and was in apparent disagreement with prosecutors on key points. He nevertheless admitted that he planted an explosive device at the Nederland police station.
U.S. District Judge Christine Arguello asked Ansberry whether he pleaded guilty because of a threat by prosecutors to charge him with an additional count. “Basically yeah,” he said. He explained that prosecutors made it known that if he did not change his plea they would add a charge against him that carried a minimum 30-year prison sentence. He added that his health is declining rapidly and if he didn’t plead guilty, it would have a dire impact.
“If I exercised my right to a trial, it would mean I would have a long and painful incarceration until I reach the age of 95 and my death would be in prison,” Ansberry said.
Prosecutor Gregory Holloway acknowledged that if the case would have gone to trial, he would have filed a new charge against Ansberry that carried a minimum 30-year prison term.
Arguello led Ansberry through a painstaking series of questions to determine whether he was changing his plea of his own free will and volition. Ansberry said yes to questions about whether he understood his guilty plea meant he could not appeal.
Holloway read the charge and asked him how he pleaded and Ansberry replied, “Guilty.”
Ansberry entered the guilty plea without the benefit of a plea agreement. His sentencing hearing was set for November.
According to court records, Ansberry built a bomb capable of demolishing the Nederland police station in order to avenge the vigilante murder of a fellow member of a 1970s era hippie gang.