LAW & PUBLIC SAFETY

Bombing Suspect Faces Federal and State Charges

Ahmad Rahami faces charges in three jurisdictions.

Federal charges from the District of New Jersey include:

– Two counts of the use of a weapon of mass destruction for Seaside Park and Elizabeth.

– Bombings of a place of public use and public transportation system for the Elizabeth train station.

– Two counts of attempted destruction of property by means of fire or explosive for Elizabeth and Seaside Park.

– Use of a destructive device during and in furtherance of a crime of violence for the incident in Elizabeth.

State charges in New Jersey:

– Five attempted murder charges for his actions in the shootout that preceded his capture — five first-degree offenses.

– One count of unlawful possession of a weapon — a second-degree felony.

– Possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose — also a second-degree felony.

Lastly, in the southern district of New York, which covers the Chelsea explosions:

– Use of weapons of mass destruction.

– Bombing a place of public use.

– Destruction of property by means of fire or explosive.

– Use of a destructive device during a crime of violence.

Mary Alice Williams: The FBI also released some details about the blast in New York and about Rahami’s activities in the days leading up to the attacks, right?

David Cruz: That’s true. The complaint says the Chelsea blast blew a 100-pound dumpster 120 feet in the air and shattered windows more than a football field away. The complaint also says the FBI got fingerprint evidence — that’s a dozen hits total — from the unexploded device in Chelsea and that led them to suspect Rahami. The FBI says that he bought most of the bomb-making components on eBay earlier this year. And that they have cell phone video of Rahami exploding a device in his backyard just days before the attacks in New York and New Jersey.

Williams: How much jail time does he face if he’s convicted on all counts?

Cruz: Well Mary Alice, on the New Jersey state charges each first degree count — there are five for attempted murder — come with a 10- to 20-year sentence. And the two second degree charges — covering the explosives — carry five- to 10-year charges each. On the federal counts in New Jersey, he faces a possible four life sentences, plus 20. In New York, he faces two life sentences, a 20-year max and a 30-year minimum for two other charges. Some of these charges would be served concurrently and the judge would have some discretion in sentencing but Ahmad Rahami, if convicted, is likely going to spend the rest of his life in jail.