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Press Release

Final Defendant In Federal Courthouse Bombing Sentenced

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of California

San Diego, CA - Donny Love, Sr., 44, was sentenced today to serve 55 years in federal prison and pay $325,000 in restitution to the General Services Administration, based on his conviction for the use of a weapon of mass destruction and other charges, arising from the bombing of the Edward J. Schwartz Federal Courthouse in San Diego on May 4, 2008, United States Attorney Laura E. Duffy announced. Love was found guilty by a federal jury on June 6, 2011, following a two-week trial before the Honorable M. Margaret McKeown.

U.S. Attorney Duffy praised the perseverance and coordinated effort of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies that participated in the Joint Terrorism Task Force in the investigation and prosecution of this case.

U.S. Attorney Duffy also expressed satisfaction as to the sentence imposed by the court. “Over twenty-one months ago, a federal jury held defendant Donny Love, Sr., accountable for masterminding the May 4, 2008 bombing of the Edward J. Schwartz Federal Courthouse. The sentence imposed by the Court today recognizes the extreme act of violence committed by Love. It is only by blind luck that no one, including Love’s coconspirator, Rachelle Carlock, was killed or injured by Love’s actions. The device detonated at the doors of the federal courthouse in the early morning hours of May 4, 2008, contained over two pounds of explosive powder jammed into three galvanized steel pipes with end caps, along with over 100 roofing nails. The subsequent explosion not only blew out the doors to the federal courthouse, causing substantial property damage, but also sent shrapnel and nails flying in all directions – over a block away and at least six stories into the air. Defendant’s actions showed a callous disregard for the lives of those individuals who were still working in the federal courthouse in those early morning hours, as well as the lives of pedestrians passing by. Today’s sentence ensures that the defendant will never again be able to endanger the lives of the citizens of our community.”

According to evidence presented at trial, Love was the person who instructed Rachelle Lynette Carlock and Ella Louise Sanders to purchase explosive powder and to steal bombmaking materials. Love and others constructed pipe bombs at Love's residence in Menifee, California, and then Love directed others to test pipe bombs by detonating them at various locations leading up to the courthouse bombing. According to testimony presented at trial, on the night of the courthouse bombing, Carlock and Eric Reginald Robinson drove from Love's residence to San Diego with a backpack containing three pipe bombs, and Carlock then detonated the bombs at the front doors of the federal courthouse.

The evidence further showed that Love was the mastermind and driving force behind the federal courthouse bombing. At the time of the bombing, he was in dire financial straits and faced significant jail time arising from two pending California state criminal cases. The evidence showed that he directed the May 4, 2008, bombing for the purpose of obtaining reward money and consideration on his state charges by providing information about the bombing to law enforcement. The success of this fraudulent scheme required that he provide false and misleading information about the bombing and induce others to do the same in order to conceal his own involvement.

Judge McKeown previously sentenced co-defendants Carlock and Sanders to serve ten years, and Robinson to serve eleven years, in federal prison for their roles in the bombing.

This investigation was coordinated by special agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Joint Terrorism Task Force and prosecuted in the Southern District of California by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Shane P. Harrigan and Fred A. Sheppard.

Updated May 9, 2023