Unlikely Unabomber

One of Arpaio's grandest busts faces a serious legal challenge

Apparently, this was disappointing news to the detectives.

"He's not well-known," Detective Paul Dougherty responded. "Everybody knows Arpaio."

Dougherty then told Morgan to not only tell Saville that Yancey could provide an apartment but that he "doesn't like Joe at all." The detective went on to say that Morgan should maintain that Yancey has "some money" and that Yancey could "make it worth your while . . . to make a bomb."

James Brian Saville faces 28 years to life in prison.
James Brian Saville faces 28 years to life in prison.

Morgan expressed confidence that Saville would take the bait. "Oh, he'll do it," Morgan said, according to the transcript of the meeting.

The detectives and Morgan met still again on July 7, 1999, two days before Saville's release. This time, they told Morgan they wanted him to pressure Saville into calling Yancey as soon as possible. "Plant the idea that Yancey can set him up in a hotel room," the detectives urged.

Back in the cell, Morgan was heard repeatedly urging Saville to call Yancey when he got out. He suggested that, by so doing, Saville would be taking a big step toward becoming a mobster.

Saville was released on July 9. The next day, he called Yancey and the two went shopping for bomb parts in a car supplied and driven by the undercover cop, who financed the spree.

Saville later claimed in police interviews that he was operating his own "sting" and that he believed there was a chance that Yancey might really be a cop instead of a mobster. He said his plan was to partially build the bomb, collect $2,000, and flee with the money.

But Saville would never get the chance.

After he partially assembled the bomb in a hotel room equipped with sheriff's department spy cameras, Yancey counted out $2,000 in $20s and tossed the money into a box containing the unfinished weapon. Saville was heard saying he would finish assembling the bomb later.

The men then drove to a restaurant where Arpaio was eating to case the scene. They left the uncompleted bomb and the $2,000 at the hotel. Arpaio's $70,000 armor-plated car was parked outside.

During a police interview after his arrest, Saville told detectives that Yancey, once they were in the parking lot, had asked him where the bomb should be placed on the car.

"He pointed, wanted me to say how I was gonna blow it up. . . . I told him, well, I'm not gonna blow it up because, um. I told him not for a couple like months or so," Saville said, according to the transcript.

Finally, Saville told investigators, Yancey said he wanted a cigarette and got out of the car they were in.

"The next thing I know, there's 100 police officers and a helicopter and everything, and I'm up against the car," Saville recounted to investigators. "I don't know what the hell happened."

Confused as he was, Saville became certain about one thing.

"I'm in deep shit," he told an interrogator later.

Forty-one months later, Saville sits in his jail cell awaiting a trial that will determine whether he is guilty of conspiracy to commit murder -- or is just another stooge for Arpaio's relentless publicity machine.

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