Bryce Ashley Reed leaving the McLennan County Jail in August 2013. (File photo by Matt Howerton)
TEXARKANA (January 17, 2014) Former West EMS volunteer Bryce Ashley Reed, who pleaded guilty in October to attempting to obstruct justice and conspiracy to make a destructive device, reported to federal prison Thursday to begin serving his 21-month sentence.
Reed's lawyer, Waco attorney Jonathan Sibley, said Reed turned himself over to federal prison authorities at the federal correctional center in Texarkana Thursday evening.
After completing his sentence, Reed must also spend three years on supervised release.
U.S. District Judge Walter S. Smith also ordered Reed to pay a $2,000 fine and a $200 special assessment to the court.
Had Smith assessed the maximum penalty, Reed could have been sentenced to 25 years.
The former West paramedic, who was accused of possessing bomb-making material in the aftermath of the deadly April fertilizer plant explosion, was originally indicted on May 14, 2013 by a federal grand jury in Waco for possession of a destructive device, but later agreed to a plea deal with prosecutors.
Sibley said Reed decided to enter the guilty plea last December because he wanted 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 have been "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, 2013, was never linked to the April 17, 2013 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, 2013 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.
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.