Judge denies pretrial release for Loewen
CREATED Dec. 20, 2013
A defense attorney for Terry Loewen began to lay the groundwork for an entrapment defense at the accused jihadist's detention hearing in federal court in Wichita.
Attorney Timothy Henry argued that Loewen, who is accused of plotting to set off a bomb at Mid Continent Airport, would never have gone along with any terrorist plan had he not been "led to the cliff" by FBI agents who were in contact with him for months.
Loewen was arrested in the pre-dawn hours of Dec. 13 outside the airport in a van that was loaded with inert materials that were made to look like a large explosive device.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Tony Mattivi described Loewen as the perfect definition of a lone wolf terrorist who believed he was working with the help of al-Qaida, but wrote he needed to isolate himself from others to carry out a plot to inflict the greatest-possible amount of carnage and death.
Henry told U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen Humphries that his client's writings had been taken largely out of context, and Loewen had tried at least twice to back out of the plot, but was talked back into it by an undercover FBI agent.
Henry described Loewen as a stable man with a 32-year-career in Wichita's aviation industry, a 16-year, devoted marriage and no problems with drugs or alcohol. Henry also said Loewen, 58, is a graduate of Wichita Heights High School, and once suffered from depression after the death of his 6-year-old daughter from a hemorrhage in the early 90s.
Loewen, a small man dressed in a red jump suit from the Sedgwick County Jail, sat politely and listened to the arguments.
In the end, Judge Humphries indicated it was not a difficult decision for her to make. She granted the government's request to keep Loewen in custody until his trial. Humphries said Loewen's computer communication with FBI agents and a letter he wrote provide clear and convincing evidence that Loewen is a flight risk and a danger to citizens.
Loewen is charged with one count of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, one count of attempting to damage property by means of an explosive and one count of attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization. He faces up to life in prison if he is convicted.