BOISE, Idaho — A Boise man who pleaded guilty to having bomb-making materials in the crawlspace of his house has been sentenced to 13 to 25 years in prison.
Joshua Finch, 33, told investigators he believed an electromagnetic pulse was going to knock out all of the electronics in the country and he was preparing for the anarchy he believed would follow. He had explosives, pipes and timing devices under his house, along with an assault rifle, prosecutors said.
“I know all this looks really bad, but I wasn’t trying to hurt anyone,” Finch told District Judge Thomas Neville on Monday.
Neville countered that having more than 100 pounds of explosives in a crawl space underneath his children’s bedrooms wasn’t consistent with that claim.
“This was not about protecting your family, Mr. Finch,” Neville said. “You were endangering your family by the actions you took.”
Finch pleaded guilty in May to aggravated assault, possession of destructive devices or bombs, two counts of injury to a child and unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon.
His then-girlfriend alerted authorities to the stash last November.
She and her parents had confronted Finch after she became concerned about him spending his nights locked in a shed and trying to purchase body armor and guns over Craigslist.
Finch slammed the woman’s father into a wall and threatened to kill him if they went to police, prosecutors said.
Finch was arrested two days later. The neighborhood was evacuated and it took bomb squad members two days to clear out the crawlspace.
“This was something, quite frankly, I think, that came out of his childhood,” defense attorney Ransom Bailey said during Monday’s sentencing. “I think his parents had a certain amount of belief in what might happen if the government broke down, if society broke down.”
The final straw was when Finch dropped a class at Boise State and the university warned him his student loans were coming due, Bailey said. The stress caused him to turn to alcohol and become fixated with the end of the world, he said.