Testimony continues in case against Oklahoma City bomb plot suspect

OKLAHOMA CITY – Testimony continues in the case against an Oklahoma man accused of trying to detonate a bomb in downtown Oklahoma City.

Prosecutors say Jerry Varnell planned to detonate a vehicle bomb Aug. 12, 2017, outside of a BancFirst in downtown Oklahoma City, but the FBI learned of the plan thanks to an FBI informant.

An FBI informant testified on Wednesday that he met Varnell on Craigslist in 2015. He says agreed to work with the FBI because he was worried that innocent people would be hurt if Varnell went through with his plan.

Drake Varnell, Oklahoma Department of Corrections 2015

Then an undercover agent posed as someone who could help construct the device provided inert materials to Varnell.

“The target himself, Mr. Varnell, would call the bomb through a triggering device in a cellphone that was affixed to the bomb,” said Raul Bujanda, the assistant special agent in charge for Oklahoma City. “He would call the phone, and it would ring and that’s what would detonate the bomb.”

Instead, it rang another phone that was in the hands of law enforcement.

BancFirst located in downtown Oklahoma City

An FBI informant says he met a man on Craigslist, who allegedly wanted to blow up a building in downtown Oklahoma City.

Defense attorneys argue that Varnell was entrapped.

According to the Associated Press, the informant was paid more than $23,000 for cooperating in the investigation.

The judge has prohibited prosecutors from showing jurors a video of a similar bomb exploding, but will allow photos and testimony about the potential damage it could cause.

Varnell faces a maximum of 20 years in prison if convicted on attempting to use an explosive device and life in prison on the weapon of mass destruction count.

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