A day after King County prosecutors charged a 22-year-old Nevada man who was arrested last week with guns and firebombs near the University of Washington, a federal grand jury has indicted him on similar charges.
It is likely that King County prosecutors will now dismiss the state charges against Justin Miles Jasper and allow the U.S. Attorney’s Office to take over the prosecution, said office spokeswoman Emily Langlie. The federal charges carry significantly more serious penalties than did the state felony charges.
Jasper was indicated on charges of transportation of a stolen vehicle, possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of stolen firearms, possession of destructive devices and possession of explosives during the commission of a felony — a crime that by itself carries a mandatory 10-year prison term.
Jasper faced up to five years in prison on the charges filed by King County prosecutors on Tuesday, the last day that charges could be filed and Jasper could be held in jail.
He is scheduled to appear Thursday in U.S. District Court for arraignment.
Jasper described himself to others as an “anarchist” and griped about corporate greed and other issues, according to charges. He had left a letter at a friend’s house saying he was coming to Washington to “argue with some legislators.”
Jasper stole the pickup and rifles from a long-haul trucker from Butte, Mont., who had given him a ride, according to the state charges.
Jasper was first noticed by University of Washington police on July 2 when officers found him sleeping in the back of the pickup not far from Mary Gates Drive, near the northeast corner of the University of Washington campus. He was released after officers warned him about camping in public and checked up on him for warrants, but turned up nothing.
The next day, UW police dispatchers got a “delayed hit” on the truck as being stolen, along with firearms, from Montana. Just before 10:30 that night, two other UW officers spotted the truck on Montlake Boulevard Northeast. After calling for backup, the officers conducted a high-risk stop and arrested Jasper.
The Molotov cocktails were found under a blanket in the back of the pickup next to body armor. They were described as bottles containing “a cloth wick, duct tape, rubber band and a liquid inside each bottle.”