'Death, vengeance and mass murder' aim of Arizona bomb plot: 'Madman martyr' Turney gets small sentence for big scheme

Arizona man Michael Roy Turney, 62, was reportedly bent on “death, vengeance and mass murder” – and he had all the bombs, weapons and plans with which to achieve it, according to a news release from the District of Arizona’s U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Michael Roy Turney/AZ Republic photo

Turney outlined his plan of mass destruction in his “Diary of a Madman Martyr,” the East Valley Tribune reports, a 97-page manifesto of sorts that outlined his scheme to attack a local electrical workers’ union hall for vengeance of his step-daughter’s death.

Turney pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of unregistered destructive devices and was sentenced this week to the statutory maximum sentence.

What’s the maximum sentence for such an alleged grand scheme to kill, kill, kill?

A paltry 10 years.

Perhaps sentencing guidelines need some exceptions for people who pen things called “Diary of a Madman Martyr.”

Turney’s hand-written notes, just one chunk of evidence police found in his house with their 2008 search warrant, put his whole plan down on paper.

He had letters addressed to family members and news outlets, the latter with cover letters explaining, “Inside this envelope you will find my last writings that may give some insight how I got to this point in life that my death, vengeance and mass murder ….”

Turney apparently believed two local union members were responsible for killing his step-daughter, Alissa, who went missing nearly 10 years ago. He claims she is buried in Desert Center, Calif.

His plan was to use his van in an attack on the local International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers’ union hall.

Turney allegedly intended to set his van on fire, barrel it into the fenced properly of the union 640 headquarters and shoot off 100 rounds of ammunition “at anyone moving.”

So many explosives were in his home police evacuated 21 nearby residences during the search.

Turney’s collection of mass destruction included 29 explosive devices, consisting of three incendiary devices and 26 pipe bombs.

The smaller pipe bombs were packed with gunpowder and steel shot while the largest of the lot, a pipe 2-feet long with a 6-inch diameter, also contained roofing nails.

An ATF agent, who called Turney’s cache one of the largest pipe bomb seizures in Arizona, said packing the bombs with steel shot and roofing nails “was consistent with someone intending to increase the lethality of the explosive devices and cause death or serious physical injuries to his intended victims.”

All bombs were assembled and set with fuses.

The bombs were in good company with Turney’s collection of 15 weapons. These included an array of handguns, shotguns and semi-automatic rifles, one of the rifles outfitted with a bi-pod and double barrel magazine containing 97 rounds of ammunition.

Two illegal silencers and a ballistic vest rounded out the mix.

The van in the backyard was also set to go. It contained three full propane tanks as well as 5-gallon gas canisters full of gasoline and other flammable liquids.

If the van blew up, its additional liquids of bleach, ammonia and calcium hypochlorite (HTC), “would have been toxic and poisonous for persons within the immediate surrounding atmosphere,” the FBI Laboratory, Hazardous Materials Response Unit warned in the release.

Police found a large brick next to the van’s gas pedal, which would work to keep the van barreling forward as Turney concentrated on firing rounds at the union door and anyone or anything else in his range.

If Turney does serve the full 10-year sentence, he would be 72 when released and possibly still spry enough to carry out mass murder.

Besides, sitting in a cell for a decade may give him time to further enhance his scheme – and build up more anger.

Small sentences for potentially large crimes are reminiscent of the slap on the wrists would-be killers sometimes get in domestic violence cases.

Even if someone threatens to murder his or her significant other, the law often cannot do much until the victim is already dead.


The players:
The investigation in this case was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Phoenix Police Department and the Arizona Department of Public Safety. The prosecution is being handled by David A. Pimsner and Michael T. Morrissey, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Phoenix. The sentencing was by U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton.

The quote:

“The cache of dangerous weapons found in Turney’s house were not for decoration-they put hundreds of Arizonans at risk ,” said Dennis Burke, U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona. “Turney was living in a world of delusion, was armed to the max with live bombs and ammunition and had formulated a plan to harm Arizonans. I commend the prosecutors and investigators for removing this dangerous individual from our community.”

What do you think?

Did Turney get off easy or is 10 years enough?

Will prison do anything useful for him?


About Rynski

Writer, artist, performer who specializes in the weird, wacky and sometimes creepy. Learn more at ryngargulinski.com.
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26 Responses to 'Death, vengeance and mass murder' aim of Arizona bomb plot: 'Madman martyr' Turney gets small sentence for big scheme

  1. azmouse says:

    What a nightmare! We never really know who our neighbors are.

    Is it that this guy spent years stewing over the disappearance of his stepdaughter? I could see where that would make you crazy, but NOT that kind of crazy.

    Did he ever go to the authorities with his theories about what happened to her and did anyone say whether these people were suspects? I realize it makes no difference for what he was going to do. I was just curious.

    I’m just very thankful he was caught before he created a huge tragedy.

    • Rynski says:

      yes, very thankful his alleged plan was stopped before it could be played out – the east valley tribune story answers your question about him going to police, kind of:
      “On Dec. 8, 2008, Phoenix police detectives arrived at Turney’s home in northeast Phoenix with a court order to get DNA evidence from Turney in connection with the case of his missing stepdaughter, Alissa. She was last seen on May 17, 2001, when Turney picked her up on the last day of her junior year at Paradise Valley High School. He has refused to cooperate with the investigation into her disappearance.”
      you are always kind to your neighbors – so you should be OK….

  2. RH says:

    These folks are here, some pretending to be patriots, in Tucson we have two such looney tunes awaiting trial for a home invasion, double homicide of a Hispanic man and his 9 year old daughter, had not the wounded mother shot back and drove off her families murderer’s it would have maybe never been discovered that these robber’s, murderer’s were “minute men alleged patriots” hiding their true natures behind their fake border security agenda, when in reality both Forde/Bush were white supremacists with connections to Aryan Nations, who knows how many crimes and murders this pair have yet to be found to have committed, Bush the alleged trigger man, fake former marne who went by a on line identity of “gunny” and never served in any military service is also pending trial for a murder in Washington State of a sleeping homeless Hispanic man, these folks have been pouring into Arizona for their own personal agendas, disquising and hiding amongst us, no doubt their home states were glad to see them go, unfortunately we have to deal with these social misfits now!

    • Rynski says:

      ahh yes, rh, i do recall the double homicide of man and his daughter – this fine case:
      “Three people were arrested for the May 30 (2009) shooting deaths of 29-year-old Raul Flores and his 9-year-old daughter, Brisenia Flores, a Pima County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman said.” LINK
      there is nothing remotely patriotic – or even human – about shooting and killing a 9-year-old child.

      • Joel says:

        While I am in no way defending the murders, they deserve to be punished to the fullest extent of the law, the family that was murdered did not in any way have clean hands. Mom & Dad was involved in drugs and/or UDA smuggling. These things (home invasions, etc…) don’t usually happen to random innocent families. BTW- Mom should be held equally responsible for her daughters death for allowing her to be around that dangerous environment!

      • RH says:

        No your not defending the murderer’s but your denigrating the deceased family, as well as the living family members who last I read were not charged with any crimes, innuendo, rumors is all I have read, accusations by these murderer’s alleging this story, one can be sued for slander if one lies on someone, but guess you have proof and are willing to bring it into a civil court room?:-) I know I would not make a claim that was not documented with verifiable evidence!:-)

      • JoeS says:

        Did’nt these “white supremacists” have a “brown” accomplice?

        odd fer sure…..

      • RH says:

        Yes they had a brown skinned/hispanic scout, interesting too when one see’s mention of how the US calvary used apache scouts to help catch renegade apaches such as old Geronimo!:-) But that being said, rumors/innuendo’s existed this hispanic fellow had a personal grudge against this man, who knows no doubt all this will come out at the upcoming trail, its already been reported in the news that the FBI had a informant report of this incident prior to the home invasion and did not act on it, another thing which might had someone acted prevented this sad and tragic event, cannot imagine my children being murdered and myself having to live on! These alleged patriots who hide behind minute men, Para-military names, Neo-Nazi’s are nothing but social misfits at best and at worst many are criminals!

  3. Alan in Kent WA says:

    Once again, I shudder when I think that these people walk among us as we do our everyday things.

  4. RH says:

    Fact is these Para-military groups are often filled to the brim with Xenophobes, social misfits, some criminal elements of society, since who really obsesses with such things, I know I am not wasting one minute of my time running around in the hot desert looking for excitement, fun nor do I need my ego stroked to feel good about myself!;-)

  5. RH says:

    One thing for sure, this trial will be televised on court television with all the gory details and oen can bet no amount of slander, innuendo & rumors at the deceased and victims will get them out of their just karma!

  6. fraser007 says:

    George C. Scott did a film similar to this. Dont remember the title (I should IMDB it) Life imitates art.

      • Rynski says:

        very interesting perspective – interesting, too, how the site goes into great details about turney’s failing health and how it’s unfair to make him sit in prison with such ailments:

        “Michael sits in Florence Prison awaiting trial in October. Michael is in poor health, suffering from Lyme disease, insufficient blood flow, degenerative neck condition, blood clots, first stage heart condition and is still suffering from his 1995 work related leg injury. Unfortunately, due to denial of preventive medicine not available to detainees and his conditions are getting worse….”

        …but no additional details whatsoever on his massive stash of explosives and weapons or his eloquent ‘manifesto’…

    • JoeS says:

      Was it “Rage” ?

      • RH says:

        Guess the “unabomber” had his reasons rage, insanity, had he not wrote his famous manifesto he would still be living in that cabin building his bombs! Theres a news special coming out this week on “home grown militia’s”, noted a case which got little attention of a man who had a dirty bomb, had all the materials, his wife shot him, or he would have done a Timothy McVeigh moment, ironic McVeigh & his buddy had a bunker in Mohave County Arizona where the wounded minute man “Bush” fled for aide and comfort from his buddies in that movement, when he was apprehended there! One might wonder if Phoenix/Tucson will be site of a looney tune in one of these radical outfits rage, insanity!

  7. JoeS says:

    “double barrel magazine containing 97 rounds of ammunition”

    Where did this description come from?

  8. sanity rules says:

    i am not defending him ….. however…. i dont think we can be charged for things we want to do…. unless of course we put it in writing and send it out…. so he was charged and sentenced for the crimes he did commit….. weapons violations etc… i am more interested in how he was caught……. would he have been caught pre 911 ? or did the expanded laws for law enforcement give them the tools to catc him? 

    • RH says:

      Cannot say I am curious how he was caught, apprehended, but am sure his buddies, friends or like minded indviduals might like to know to avoid similar fate!:-) My guess is these conspiracies always involve minimum two people, the rare lone wolves like the unabomber are harder to catch, these groups get infiltrated, fairly easily since they are desperate for members!:-)

    • JoeS says:

      He was in possession of what is classified as a “destructive Device”,  oddly enough if you own a glass container,  some flamable liqued with a low flashpoint like unleaded gas,  and a rag…you are in what is called “constructive possession” of a destructive device.


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