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FAMU bathroom bomber to remain behind bars

Published: Nov. 19, 2020 at 3:54 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - A federal judge has ruled Florida A&M University pipe bomber Lawrence Lombardi will remain behind bars.

Judge Robert Hinkle sentenced Lombardi to a combined 54 years in prison. This came after Hinkle vacated Lombardi’s life sentence stemming from a 2019 U.S. Supreme Court ruling on a separate case.

Lombardi spoke in the virtual hearing via video conference from prison. The one-time Tallahassee native argued he’d turned his life around.

“I’m so sorry for my words and actions in 1999,” he said. “I accept full responsibility for what I said back then and did. I apologize to the university, the community, particularly the student community.”

Prosecutors weren’t buying the argument, asking the court to remember the seriousness of the crimes committed. Two FAMU representatives, including President Larry Robinson, spoke during the hearing about the effect the bombing had on campus.

“I was here in 1999, second year as administrator. I had with me my wife and three daughters,” he said.

“I thought there would be no safer place on the planet...and then this happened.”

Robinson argued that despite what Lombardi said now, there’s no way to know for sure if he’d do it again.

“What Mr.Lombardi wanted to do was have us gone...but we are still here. The message here is he did not complete his mission,” he said.

In the end, Judge Hinkle sided with prosecutors. The 54-year sentence fell just short of the maximums for the charges remaining.

“I think it would be irresponsible for me to put Mr.Lombardi back on the street,” he said.

The judge also spoke to the broader issue of racism in today’s society.

“We live in a time where open racism has become more common,” he said.

“If Mr.Lombardi was willing at a time when racism was less likely to be tolerated...I don’t have any confidence he wouldn’t do this kind of thing again.”

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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