Gorbey Sentenced to 22 Years

Posted August 15, 2008 at 12:13pm

Michael Gorbey was sentenced to 22 years Friday for bringing a loaded shotgun, ammunition and a handmade explosive device to Capitol Hill last winter.

D.C. Superior Court Judge Gregory Jackson handed down the sentence about three months after Gorbey was convicted of 14 weapons charges. Almost half of Gorbey’s sentence — 10 years — is for attempting to manufacture a weapon of mass destruction.

During the three-week trial, Gorbey represented himself and claimed that the government had conspired against him. Prosecutors repeatedly objected to Gorbey’s line of questioning, and Jackson issued several stern warnings.

The jury eventually found him guilty on all counts, making Gorbey the first person to be convicted under the D.C. weapons of mass destruction law.

Gorbey was stopped by Capitol Police in January after an officer saw him walking near the Capitol wearing a military flak vest, shotgun in hand. A search turned up multiple rounds of ammunition and a three-foot sword; three weeks later, investigators found more ammunition and a homemade explosive device in Gorbey’s truck.

That device — a tin can filled with explosive powder, with bullets duct-taped to the outside — is what brought the weapon of mass destruction charge.

Prosecutors argued that if it had exploded, it could have hurt people in the immediate vicinity.

But Gorbey and his assisting counsel, Eugene Ohm pointed out that the can did not have a detonator. And in a report, Capitol Police Sgt. Michael DeCarlo, a bomb technician, called it “just as dangerous as a can of black powder sitting on a shelf at Wal-Mart.”