McKees Rocks bomb maker set to serve 15- to 20-year sentence

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A McKees Rocks man is headed for a 15- to 20-year prison sentence for helping an FBI informant build a nail bomb ostensibly meant to kill a federal witness, according to testimony at his guilty plea hearing Wednesday.

Michael Steven Cech, 41, agreed with Assistant U.S. Attorney James Kitchen that he negotiated a trade with the unidentified informant. Mr. Cech would get a .45-caliber handgun and $300, and the informant would get equipment and know-how needed to build a bomb to kill someone set to testify in a federal drug trial.

On May 25, Mr. Cech met with the informant, and while audio and video tapes rolled, showed him how to assemble the bomb. Mr. Cech told the informant that he "preferred that no kids were killed" by the bomb, but added, "it is what it is," Mr. Kitchen said.

Mr. Cech pleaded guilty to unlawfully teaching explosive making. U.S. District Judge Donetta W. Ambrose called the sentence "severe" and "sufficient," though she could nix it at a Jan. 8 sentencing if she chooses to do so.

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