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Man Pleads Not Guilty to Charges in Library Bombing

Man Pleads Not Guilty to Charges in Library Bombing



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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- An Illinois man accused of setting off a pipe bomb in the main downtown library here pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges in a six-count federal indictment.

Thomas Zajac, 53, of Downers Grove, Ill., is charged with one count of carrying a destructive device in relation to a crime of violence, which carries a 30-year mandatory sentence that must be served consecutive to any other sentence.

He also is charged with attempted damaging and destroying a building by an explosive device, which carries a penalty of up to five years; possession of an unregistered destructive device; possession of a destructive device following a domestic violence conviction; willfully using the mail to threaten the use of explosives and transportation of explosives in interstate commerce with the intent to damage and destroy a building -- all of which carry sentences of up to 10 years.

A federal grand jury handed up the indictment Tuesday.

Trial was set for Jan. 30 before U.S. District Judge Dee Benson, said Melodie Rydalch, U.S. attorney's office spokeswoman.

A pipe bomb blew out a window at the library Sept. 15 and forced 400 people to evacuate the building. No one was injured and the library reopened the next day.

Zajac was arrested Oct. 27 in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., and soon after brought to Salt Lake City. On Monday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Brooke Wells ordered Zajac remain behind bars pending trial.

After a detention hearing Monday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Carlos Esqueda said an "element of revenge" was behind the explosion, a reference to conflicts between Zajac's family and police. No other details have been made public.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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