Man convicted of mailing bombs to CO, retired cop in revenge plot

In both instances, someone else ended up setting off the bombs, which Ross Gordon Laverty rigged into packages and sent in the mail


By Nate Gartrell
The Mercury News

OAKLAND, Calif. — After deliberating for two days, a federal jury convicted an East Bay man of mailing bombs to two law enforcement officers he believed had unduly harassed him, prosecutors said.

Ross Gordon Laverty, 59, of Oakland, was convicted of mailing bombs to a corrections officer and a retired policeman. Both the bombs exploded and injured those who opened them, but neither victim was Laverty’s intended target, according to authorities.

Federal investigators shared this photo of Ross Gordon Laverty.
Federal investigators shared this photo of Ross Gordon Laverty. (Courtesy photo)

Laverty was linked through DNA to the bombs, which prosecutors said had a remarkably similar design. But he took his case to trial and argued that he’d been framed by a third party who was really behind the plot. Jurors began deliberating last Friday.

In one case, Laverty sent a bomb to a San Mateo County corrections officer who had searched Laverty’s cell search while Laverty was already in jail on a drug-possession charge in 2014. The officer reported finding drug contraband in Laverty’s cell, which led to an additional seven weeks in jail. Laverty said the officer had lied.

The second intended target, a retired Alameda police sergeant, searched Laverty’s home years ago, which Laverty wrote in his journal was a disgrace to his family, prosecutors said in trial briefs.

One of the packages had the words “Justicia Boyz” written in graffiti-style lettering, which authorities have chalked up as an attempt to blame the bombing on a nonexistent gang.

In both instances, someone else ended up setting off the bombs, which Laverty rigged into packages and sent in the mail. In one case, he sent the bomb to a man that simply had the same name as the corrections officer; that person suffered injuries to his hand, abdomen, and eardrums, prosecutors said.

The second bomb, sent to Berkeley, exploded when the retired sergeant’s wife cut it open. But as she was opening it, she saw wires sticking out of the package, threw it to the ground, and as a result escaped serious injury, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors introduced a bomb-making expert, as well as a forensic technician who testified that DNA found on the batteries to a bomb matched Laverty. They also showed jurors entries from Laverty’s journal that include references to blowing someone’s face off with a pipe bomb.

A sentencing date has not yet been set. Laverty faces up to 20 years alone on two convictions of mailing injurious devices.

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©2020 the San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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