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Alleged 'Bishop' pipe bomber to give own closing

Alleged 'Bishop' pipe bomber to give own closing at trial; could also call himself to stand By The Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) ' A former Iowa letter carrier was expected to deliver his own closing Thursday at his trial on charges that he sent dud pipe bombs and taunting letters signed "The Bishop" to investment advisers to boost the value of his stocks.

There was also a chance that 47-year-old John Tomkins, who has represented himself during two weeks of testimony in Chicago, could call himself to take the stand just before the sides make final arguments to jurors.

He's accused of sending letters threatening to kill recipients, their families or neighbors unless they took steps to raise the price of 3COM Corp. and Navarre Corp. stocks, in which he invested. The letters, sent from 2005 to 2007, were signed, "The Bishop."

Packages included notes reading, "BANG! YOU'RE DEAD," and a message that declared that the only reason the receiver was still alive was because one wire was intentionally not attached.

In a sometimes odd display at trial, the Dubuque, Iowa, man has spoken about himself in the third person. In his opening, he startled observers by admitting he mailed the letters.

"Hold him accountable for what he did," he said, referring to himself. But the one-time machinist denied the more serious accusation of mailing bombs that could have detonated.

Prosecutors say the bombs were real and would have exploded had all the wires been attached. The letters included a demand to act by a deadline or bombs that explode would follow. They ended with the words "Tick, tock" or "Time's up."

Tomkins, who has been in custody since his arrest in 2007, is charged with mailing threatening communications, illegal possession of a destructive device and using a destructive device in connection with a crime of violence.

If convicted, a judge could impose a more than 200-year prison sentence.


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