North Carolina man sentenced for bomb threat to US Capitol

A North Carolina man with a history of mental illness was on Friday sentenced to five years of probation after pleading guilty to threatening to explode a bomb near the U.S. Capitol two years ago.

In August 2021, Floyd Roseberry engaged in a four-hour standoff with police after threatening to “blow up two-and-a-half city blocks.” He said he was upset about the 2020 presidential election results and demanded President Biden resign from office, according to the Justice Department.

“This blood’s on your hands, Joe Biden. We can make a deal,” Roseberry threatened, according to prosecutors. 

Roseberry claimed at the time that his truck’s tool box contained a Tannerite and ammonium nitrate bomb and said there were four other “Southern boys” in Washington prepared to detonate bombs if he was killed, according to prosecutors. The defendant filmed the exchange on Facebook Live from his truck.

It was later determined that the metal keg Roseberry said was a bomb only contained a small amount of “smokeless black powder” and could not be detonated by him, prosecutors said. 

The North Carolina man has since said he was in the midst of a psychotic break caused by ineffective treatment for his bipolar disorder, The Washington Post reported.  

Roseberry faced one count of threats to use explosives after prosecutors agreed to drop a more serious charge for attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. The charge prosecutors dropped carried a potential life sentence, while Roseberry faces no more than 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the remaining charge.

Prosecutors requested a sentence of 30 months – just two and a half years – and three years supervised release for Roseberry, citing the chaos his actions wreaked in and outside the Capitol and congressional office buildings.

The DOJ also noted that the incident occurred “just a few months” after the “political violence of January 6, 2021,” referring to the U.S. Capitol attack. Prosecutors suggested the close proximity is something “the Court must also consider” when deciding Roseberry’s sentence. 

“Mr. Roseberry effectively threatened the lives of hundreds of government officials and others working in surrounding buildings based in part on a political agenda just a few months after the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021,” prosecutors said. 

Still, the government’s sentencing request was the lowest within the guidelines calculated for Roseberry’s offenses, which they in part attributed to his mental illness. 

Roseberry’s attorney, federal public defender A.J. Kramer, requested a sentence of time served, given he had been incarcerated for a year before being released into home confinement in August 2022. Kramer described a troubled childhood with an alcoholic, abusive father and detailed a series of familial deaths in the years leading up to the incident to which he pleaded guilty. 

“Coping with all this loss in a short period of time was very difficult for Mr. Roseberry, who was struggling to maintain his mental health,” Kramer wrote on his behalf. 

Kramer also said Roseberry was suicidal and had been prescribed Adderall and Valium by a physician — not a psychiatrist. A psychologist with the D.C. Department of Behavioral Health said the medication could cause “manic and psychotic episodes” in people with Roseberry’s mental disorder, Kramer wrote. 

“He deeply regrets his conduct, but the conduct is not reflective of who he is,” Kramer wrote. “His behavior was an aberration, out of character and the result of the prescribed medication that induced a psychotic state.”

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