Montgomery teen Patrick Yevsukov avoids jail time in bomb-making case

By Dan Morse
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 27, 2010

A 19-year-old from Montgomery County was spared jail time Wednesday for his role in a bomb-making case that unearthed an alleged plan to try to kill the president, in the final chapter of a two-year-old case that involved a pair of former prep school honor students and a cache of weapons in one of their bedrooms.

Patrick Yevsukov, now a straight-A student at the University of Baltimore, was placed on three years' supervised probation. In 2008 and 2009, he gave investigators key information about his former close friend, Collin McKenzie-Gude, now 20, who was sentenced to nearly eight years in the case and remains in jail.

"I'm just very relieved it's over," Yevsukov said. "It's been a long two years."

Yevsukov wants to go to law school. His attorney, Rene Sandler, said she will try to have his convictions expunged from his record.

In handing down the sentence Wednesday, Montgomery County Circuit Judge Louise G. Scrivener cited Yevsukov's extensive cooperation with investigators and said he had come a long way since his arrest two years ago on charges that he set off pipe bombs.

"I do have to comment that I think you've done an incredible job of turning things around in your life," Scrivener told Yevsukov.

In early 2009, Yevsukov pleaded guilty to two counts of manufacture or possession of a destructive device, one count of unauthorized access to a computer and one count of theft of less than $100. He admitted that while working as an intern at the Montgomery County Police Department he stole letterhead paper, which was to be used to obtain products restricted to law enforcement officers.

In discussions with investigators, Yevsukov said McKenzie-Gude had told him about his plan to try to kill then-candidate Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign.

He also shared discussions between him and McKenzie-Gude about purchasing untraceable guns and about killing the seller if he tried to rob them.

McKenzie-Gude was "the driving force" behind the plans, prosecutor Peter Feeney said in court Wednesday.

Inside McKenzie-Gude's home, detectives found plans mapped out for the gun purchase, including an area marked "kill zone." But no other witnesses spoke to investigators about the alleged Obama plot, and maps and documents discovered in McKenzie-Gude's room were inconclusive, it was said in court hearings.

McKenzie-Gude had pleaded guilty to storing bomb-making chemicals in his bedroom closets. His attorney, Steven Kupferberg, called the disparity in sentences "a miscarriage of justice."

He said that his client never wanted to shoot or kill anyone and that Yevsukov invented McKenzie-Gude's plot to kill Obama to curry favor with investigators and prosecutors. McKenzie-Gude was not charged with any plots of violence, but prosecutors reported them to U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte, who said they appeared to be credible.

McKenzie-Gude also pleaded guilty to attempted carjacking, after attacking a 78-year-old man on the day he found out that police were about to search his bedroom. Prosecutors said that it was a short-lived plan to flee the area.

Sandler said that Yevsukov told the truth and that Kupferberg was simply trying to deflect the blame away from McKenzie-Gude. "He is more interested in blaming Patrick," Sandler said.

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