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FAMU bathroom bomber could be released from prison

File photo of Florida A&M University's campus.
File photo of Florida A&M University's campus.(WCTV)
Published: Nov. 19, 2020 at 8:53 AM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - A Tallahassee man serving a life sentence for planting a pair of pipe bombs on Florida A&M University’s campus in 1999 will be back in court Thursday afternoon.

A federal judge is set to resentence Lawrence Lombardi after a U.S. Supreme Court decision in another case prompted the judge to throw out two of Lombardi’s six convictions last month.

Lombardi was found guilty of planting pipe bombs in a Lee Hall bathroom and a bathroom at the Perry Paige building in the fall of 1999 and making a series of racially charged phone calls to local media in the weeks between bombings. Hundreds of students withdrew from FAMU as a result, trial transcripts say.

No one was injured in the attacks, but photos in the federal court record show extensive damage.

One employee described the Lee Hall explosion as “very, very loud.”

“It was so loud that we thought it was a gun,” she said at trial. Officers on scene described debris all over the floor and “shrapnel sticking in two or three walls.”

The second explosion was more powerful, according to court records. One employee was reaching for the restroom door when the force of the blast “blew the door handle” into his hands.

“The ceiling had dropped, light fixtures were dropped, most of the partitions for the urinals had been basically knocked about,” federal prosecutors said in their sentencing memorandum filed earlier this week.

“Both bombs were capable of causing injury or death,” prosecutors said as they called on the judge to sentence Lombardi to 30 to 60 years or more, saying that’s what people convicted of similar crimes would serve under current statutes and guidelines.

Court records show FAMU has submitted a letter to the court asking that Lombardi stays in prison and the records say several FAMU representatives are expected to address the judge at Thursday afternoon’s resentencing hearing.

Lombardi’s attorney is calling on the judge to sentence him to time served.

“Mr. Lombardi already has served a period of imprisonment of approximately 19 years, his custodial sentence must be amended to time served, and Mr. Lombardi must be released forthwith from the custody of the United States Bureau of Prisons and/or custody of the United States’ Marshals Service,” Patricia Jean Kyle said in a petition to the court in February.

“Mr. Lombardi already has served almost 20 years imprisonment,” Kyle wrote, “a period far beyond the sentences imposed on Counts 1, 3, 5 and 6 of 108 concurrent months.”

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