You are hereHuffington Post: Bruce Turnidge, Josh Turnidge Trial: Bank-Bombing Case Exposes Anti-Government Sentiments
Huffington Post: Bruce Turnidge, Josh Turnidge Trial: Bank-Bombing Case Exposes Anti-Government Sentiments
November 20, 2010- People who knew Bruce Turnidge and his son say they loved their guns, hated President Obama, and fantasized about starting a militia and a tent city in the woods for people who shared their radical beliefs.
Prosecutors say they acted on their anger at the government by planting a bomb that blew up inside a small-town bank in 2008, killing two police officers and maiming a third.
The father and son are on trial in Oregon in a case that has painted a picture of a rural underworld of hatred and resentment in which the defendants blamed their troubles on a government bent on taking their guns and freedom.
Bruce Turnidge regularly lectured anyone who would listen about the need for citizens to be armed to defend their freedom, and cheered the Oklahoma City federal building bombing, according to testimony. His son, Joshua, shared similar views and spoke of robbing a bank to raise the money to keep their biodiesel business afloat.
"The catalyst was the election of Barack Obama in 2008," prosecutor Katie Suver said at the start of the trial in September.
She said both men believed the Obama administration would crack down on their rights to own guns. The attack occurred about a month after Obama was elected.
Though the two are on trial together, they have turned against each other in their defenses against aggravated murder charges that could send them to death row. Defense lawyers believe the Turnidge's political beliefs should have no bearing on the trial, and contend the bomb wouldn't have detonated had officers not bungled the response.
Bruce Turnidge, 58, was the son of a prominent mint farmer in Oregon's fertile Willamette Valley. He was forced to go out on his own at 18 when his father lost the farm.
In the 1990s he and a group of like-minded men approached a Salem businessman for a loan to buy military-grade weapons. Richard Faith testified that he didn't share their beliefs and turned them down, though he later gave Turnidge a loan to buy an onion farm in northern Nevada.