A KKK member plotted to kill Muslims with a homemade death ray but it seems he was also foolish enough to enlist the help of strangers who turned out to be undercover law enforcement officers.
Which is probably why, according to the Albany Times-Union, Crawford’s friends described him as a cross between Darth Vader, an intergalactic mass murderer, and Forrest Gump, once described by The Washington Post as a low-IQ Southern character with a propensity for gate-crashing history.
Crawford was sentenced Monday to 30 years in federal prison for plotting to build an industrial X-ray machine that would spew lethal doses of radiation powerful enough to kill people from a distance. His plan, according to a federal complaint, was to place the machine inside a truck or a van, park the vehicle outside Muslim institutions and activate it remotely. The goal was for his targets to be dead long before they realize they’d inhaled poison.
“The conduct is bizarre. You are bizarre,” U.S. District Court Senior Judge Gary Sharpe told Crawford during his sentencing hearing in federal court in Albany, N.Y., according to the Albany Times-Union.
Crawford, a 52-year-old industrial mechanic, also will be on a lifetime supervised release.
The Galway, N.Y., resident was charged after a 14-month FBI undercover investigation that began in April 2012 when authorities received a tip that Crawford, a self-professed member of the Ku Klux Klan, approached two Jewish organizations to seek financing for his plan. Crawford sought people who might help him acquire a radiation-emitting device for use against those whom he perceived to be enemies of Israel, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
Someone from the Jewish institutions then alerted federal authorities, unbeknown to Crawford, who spent the following year designing, buying parts for, building and testing his device.
He scouted mosques in Albany and Schenectady, N.Y., and considered the governor’s mansion and an Islamic community center and school as possible targets, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
From August 2012 to June 2013, Crawford was unwittingly talking to and working with undercover law enforcement officers. He enlisted the help of a KKK leader who was cooperating with investigators the entire time, court records say.