The day after his conviction for conspiring to bomb Washington area abortion clinics, Michael Donald Bray, free on bond until his sentencing July 2, answered the phone at his Bowie home with a cheery "Glory to God!"
"I'm just glad that I have from now until sentencing," said Bray, 32, who faces up to 20 years in prison and $30,000 in fines after his conviction by a federal jury in Baltimore.
As Bray prepared to enjoy his remaining time with his wife, Jayne, 29, and their three children, local antiabortion activists who had rallied around him grappled with the reality of his conviction on two counts of conspiracy and one count of possessing unregistered explosive devices.
Bray was arrested Jan. 19 in connection with the bombing of 10 abortion clinics and related facilities, along with Thomas Eugene Spinks, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy and provided crucial testimony against Bray, and Kenneth William Shields, 34, of Laurel, who is scheduled to stand trial June 3.
Of the three men, Bray was the most actively involved in the mainstream antiabortion movement, a frequent picketer at local clinics and the founder of a Bowie counseling center for pregnant women.
After Bray's arrest, the Lutheran lay minister and house painter protested his innocence and contended that he had been framed. His fellow activists mobilized to help with moral and financial support. Insisting that the clean-cut, deeply religious Bray could not have had any connection with the year-long spate of bombings, they organized the Michael Bray Defense Fund, raising more than $25,000 to defray legal costs that Bray's lawyer estimated could reach $100,000.
"Michael Bray is innocent. I know. I am his brother," Joseph Daniel Bray wrote in a fund-raising appeal addressed to "Brothers and Sisters in Christ."
Yesterday, Dan Bray said, "We have to accept the jury's verdict. We have to have respect for law and order." But, he said, "The sole reason that my brother has found himself in this situation is because of the far more violent killing that is going on in the clinics."
Some supporters, such as former Maryland lieutenant governor Samuel Bogley, said they were not convinced that Bray had actually participated in two of the bombings, as Spinks had testified, and provided information and encouragement for the others.
But others, including Harry Hand and John Cavanaugh-O'Keefe of the Gaithersburg-based Prolife Nonviolent Action Project, both of whom testified in Bray's defense, expressed regret that he had not been more candid about his involvement in the bombings.
"We stood by Mike all the way because we believed in his innocence," Hand said. "There's not too much to say except that we are disappointed. Everything that came out in the trial pointing towards Michael's guilt were things which we were not aware of."
Asked if he felt he had betrayed fellow antiabortion activists, Bray responded, "I imagine there will be some folks disappointed with what their immediate perceptions are, but beyond that I couldn't comment."
Bray's attorney, Robert F. Muse, said yesterday his client had not decided whether to appeal.