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Woman Gets 24 Years in Prison for Bombing

<i> From Associated Press</i>

An Alaska woman who pleaded guilty to being involved in a revenge mail bombing that killed one man and injured his wife has been sentenced to 24 years and four months in federal prison.

Peggy Gustafson Barnett, 31, pleaded tearfully with U.S. District Judge Manuel Real on Monday to give her only probation, saying she would “do anything to fix the situation.”

“If I could give my life to bring back David Kerr, I would,” she said. “I am so sorry. You don’t know how much I hate myself.”

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But Real rejected a defense argument that a “hormonal imbalance” caused by the late stages of pregnancy clouded Barnett’s judgment.

Barnett pleaded guilty in February to one count each of conspiracy and transporting an explosive through the mail with intent to kill.

Prosecutors said the bomb was intended for the Kerrs’ son, George, whose testimony helped convict Douglas Gustafson and Raymond Cheely Jr. in a 1990 highway shooting death.

Four other people were charged in the bombing. Gustafson, who is Barnett’s brother, and Cheely were charged with directing the mail bomb plot from jail. Joseph E. Ryan and Craig Gustafson, another brother, were also charged.

Douglas and Craig Gustafson pleaded guilty to their charges. Douglas Gustafson was sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years, and Craig Gustafson was sentenced to 22 1/2 years in prison.

The trials of Cheely and Ryan are scheduled to begin in early 1994.


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