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Sentence reduced for convicted bomber at Black university

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A man convicted two decades ago of setting off pipe bombs at a historically Black college in Florida had his sentence reduced Thursday to 54 years, down from life plus 39 years.

Lawrence Lombardi, 62, has already served about 21 years, which mean the new sentence he received in Tallahassee federal court could keep him locked up until he is 95.

Lombardi was convicted in 2000 of planting and detonating two pipe bombs on the campus of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in August and September of 1999.

“Lawrence Lombardi’s criminal acts terrorized FAMU faculty, students, and their family members during the fall of 1999 and generated fear in our community that lingered on well past his arrest,” U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida Lawrence Keefe said in a statement.

No one was injured in the bombings, but prosecutors at the time argued that the bombings were motivated by racial prejudice.

Jurors convicted Lombardi, who is white, of six counts: two counts of maliciously damaging property, two counts of using a destructive device during and in relation to a crime of violence and two counts of interfering with federally protected activities on the basis of race or color.

When Lombardi was sentenced in 2000, the two counts of using a destructive device during and in relation to a crime of violence were the most impactful because they carried significant mandatory sentencing requirements, officials said.

The U.S. Supreme Court decided in a different case last year that part of the definition of a “crime of violence” is unconstitutionally vague. Lombardi challenged his own convictions based the the ruling, and a district court vacated the two counts.

Lombardi's attorney argued in February that his sentence should be reduced to time served, but the court ordered him to be resentenced for the four remaining counts.

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