Lowell W. Timmers kept his remarks brief yesterday in court to avoid any misunderstanding. Now the man who threatened to blow up the White House is heading to prison for 34 months under the original plea bargain he struck with prosecutors.
The federal court proceedings went smoothly -- in contrast to last month, when the sentencing was postponed because Timmers could not guarantee that he never would make such threats again.
Timmers, 54, earlier pleaded guilty to making threats in a Jan. 18 standoff with police near the White House. He admitted that he parked his van near the mansion and pretended that he was going to blow up some gas canisters. He surrendered nearly five hours later, saying he caused the disruption to protest his son-in-law's arrest on immigration charges.
In court yesterday, Timmers acknowledged that his philosophical ruminations at a June 30 hearing -- when he said that nothing is absolute -- "have gotten me in some trouble." His remarks at that hearing put the plea deal and its 34-month term in jeopardy. They included such comments as, "There's always a chance of anything, Your Honor" and, "The odds of that happening are 800 million-billion to one, but I can't ever rule anything out completely, sir."
Yesterday, Timmers, a woodcutter from Cedar Springs, Mich., apologized to U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan and said he had "no intention" or wish to return to Washington and get in trouble.
Sullivan then accepted the sentence, which was negotiated between the defense attorney and prosecutors, but he imposed some unusual restrictions. He ordered that Timmers not step foot in Washington for five years after his release from prison. Sullivan also ordered that, for three years after his release, Timmers wear -- and pay for -- some kind of electronic monitoring to help verify that he stays away.
"You know that if you come back to D.C., you'll be in a lot of trouble," Sullivan said.
Timmers said he understood.
In court papers, Assistant U.S. Attorney Heidi M. Pasichow told the judge that prosecutors were offended that Timmers had not shown more contrition at last month's hearing. But she told the judge she was satisfied that Timmers did not want to break the law again.
"Mr. Timmers reiterated today more effectively that he has absolutely no intention of returning to the District of Columbia and breaking the law," Pasichow said in an interview after the sentencing. "He has a lot of time to do, with a lot of time to think about what he did. I believe he will not be back."
On June 30, Sullivan, who has served more than two decades on the bench, told Timmers and attorneys on both sides that he was "astonished" by the defendant's remarks. He said Timmers might have deserved an award for candor, but that the statements were so disconcerting that he could not responsibly proceed with sentencing.