Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Man Pleads Guilty to Buying Rifles in San Bernardino Attack

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Man Pleads Guilty to Buying Rifles in San Bernardino Attack

Article excerpt

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - In a plea deal criticized by the father of a victim, a California man pleaded guilty Thursday to providing the high-powered rifles used to kill 14 people in the San Bernardino terror attack. Enrique Marquez Jr. appeared in federal court in Riverside with his hands cuffed and chained to his waist as a judge accepted his plea agreement with prosecutors.

Gregory Clayborn, the father of one of those killed, opposed the deal in remarks to the judge before the hearing.

"This man supplied these murderers with these weapons and he's going to get a slap on the wrist, your honor, Clayborn said, his voice cracking.

"My daughter, she didn't deserve this, he said.

Under the plea deal, Marquez could face up to 25 years in prison. A sentencing hearing before U.S. District Judge Jesus G. Bernal was scheduled for Aug. 21.

In addition to purchasing the weapons, Marquez, 25, of Riverside pleaded guilty to conspiring with one of the San Bernardino shooters in earlier mass killing plots targeting a community college and a gridlocked Southern California freeway that were never carried out.

In court, Marquez sounded choked up after the prosecutor described what he had done. Marquez told the judge he had dropped out of high school and college but understood the allegations and the consequences of pleading guilty.

Victims' relatives were given tissue boxes ahead of the brief hearing. While Marquez was questioned, one sobbed. Another closed her eyes.

Afterward, Clayborn told reporters he believes Marquez knew about the San Bernardino attack that killed his daughter.

U.S. attorney Eileen M. Decker said she understands why victims' relatives may feel the sentence is insufficient due to the pain they have suffered, but explained that she is bound by the law and there is no evidence that Marquez participated in or had advance knowledge of the San Bernardino attack. …

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