SAN DIEGO — The mastermind behind the bombing of the downtown San Diego federal courthouse nearly five years ago was sentenced Friday to 55 years in federal prison.
Donny Love, 44, was convicted in June 2011 of multiple charges, including the use of a weapon of mass destruction, for orchestrating the 1:40 a.m. bombing of the Edward J. Schwartz Federal Courthouse on May 4, 2008.
U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy expressed satisfaction regarding the sentence handed down by Judge M. Margaret McKeown.
“The sentence imposed by the court today recognizes the extreme act of violence committed by Love. It’s only by blind luck that no one, including Love’s co-conspirator, Rachelle Carlock, was killed or injured by Love’s actions,” Duffy said.
“The device detonated at the doors of the federal courthouse in the early morning hours of May 4, 2008, contained over two pounds of explosive powder jammed into three galvanized steel pipes with end caps, along with over 100 roofing nails,” she said. “The subsequent explosion not only blew out the doors to the federal courthouse, causing substantial property damage, but also sent shrapnel and nails flying in all directions — over a block away and at least six stories into the air.”
Duffy said Love’s actions showed a callous disregard for the lives of people working in the courthouse and pedestrians passing by.
Prosecutors said Love instructed Carlock and another woman, Ella Louise Sanders, to buy explosive powder and steal bomb-making materials.
On May 4, 2008, Carlock and Eric Reginald Robinson drove from Love’s residence in Menifee to San Diego with a backpack containing three pipe bombs, and Carlock detonated the bombs at the front door of the courthouse, according to testimony at Love’s two-week trial.
At the time of the bombing, Love was in dire financial straits and facing significant time behind bars stemming from two pending state criminal cases. Evidence presented at the trial showed that Love directed the bombing so he could cash in on $75,000 in reward money by telling authorities about Carlock’s involvement in the crime.
By providing the information, Love also hoped to get a break on his pending state charges, prosecutors said.
Carlock, Sanders and Robinson each pleaded guilty in connection with the bombing. Carlock was sentenced in 2011 to 10 years in federal prison. Sanders was sentenced last year to 10 years in federal custody and Robinson was given an 11-year term.