Weapons of Mass Destruction trial for Varnell postponed again

The trial for a 24-year-old Sayre man facing life in prison for federal charges of attempting to use weapons of mass destruction has been once again postponed until February 12, 2019.

The jury trial in federal court for the Western District of Oklahoma had previously been scheduled to begin this week at 9:30 am on November 7. However, the newly appointed Judge Timothy D. DeGiusti moved the case to the February docket on November 1.

According to an employee of the federal court clerk’s office, documents explaining the move are currently sealed. The same employee also noted that several documents had been filed “back and forth” between the prosecution and defense.

Varnell’s federal felony charges originate from his August 12, 2017, arrest in which the FBI alleges he drove a van he believed to be stolen and modeled with explosives to Oklahoma City’s downtown BancFirst building. 

Court reports claim that Varnell parked the van in a nearby alley way then used a “burner” cell phone in attempts to detonate the bomb. The FBI, who had been working with multiple state and local agencies as well BancFirst, state that they immediately took Varnell into custody.

The FBI has also provided assurances that the bombs Varnell believed to be receiving were inert, or inoperable, and that the public was never at risk. 

The investigation into Varnell was months long, now believed to have began in December, 2016, when an informant reached out to the FBI about concerning online conversations he had been having with Varnell. 

The informant has now identified himself as Brett Elisens. He is also identified in some court papers.

In November, 2017, Varnell...

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