Ex-West Paramedic Reaches Plea Deal In Explosives Case

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WACO (October 10, 2013)--Bryce Ashley Reed, 31, the former West paramedic who was accused of possessing bomb-making material in the aftermath of the deadly fertilizer plant explosion, pleaded guilty Thursday to attempting to obstruct justice and conspiracy to make a destructive device.

Bryce Ashley Reed leaving the McLennan County Jail in August. (Photo by Matt Howerton)

Reed entered the plea Thursday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Waco.

He was originally indicted on May 14 by a federal grand jury in Waco for possession of a destructive device, but his attorney announced Wednesday that Reed had agreed to a plea deal with prosecutors.

U.S. District Judge Walter Smith will sentence Reed on Dec. 4.

The charges carry a possible sentence of 25 years.

Sibley said Reed decided to enter the plea because he wants to accept full responsibility “for what he believes is his role in the allegations against him” and to spare family and friends from what Sibley said would likely be “a hotly contested and long and drawn out jury trial.”

Reed, who was released to the custody of his mother and stepfather on Aug. 22, was never linked to the April 17 explosion that killed 15, injured hundreds and damaged or destroyed dozens of homes and buildings.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents arrested him on May 9 in West after pipe bomb components were found on May 7 at the home of an Abbott resident who “had unwittingly taken possession of the components from Reed on April 26,” an arrest warrant affidavit said.

(Read The Affidavit)

The components included a 3.5-inch by 1.5-inch length of galvanized pipe with end caps, in one of which was drilled a 1/8th-inch hole, the affidavit said.

Authorities also recovered hobby fuse, a lighter, a digital scale, a plastic spoon, six coils of metal ribbon, several pounds of chemicals in separate bags including potassium nitrate, potassium perchlorate, sulfur power, air float charcoal and aluminum power, the affidavit said.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives experts who inspected the material agreed that the components could “be readily assembled into a destructive device,” the affidavit said.

Reed was scheduled to go on trial on Oct. 15.