Man Sentenced to 25 Years for Trying to Bomb OKC Bank

Mar 24, 2020

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma man was sentenced Monday to 25 years in prison after being convicted of trying to blow up an Oklahoma City bank with a massive vehicle bomb, according to federal prosecutors.

Jerry Drake Varnell, 26, of Sayre, was sentenced in federal court in Oklahoma City. When he is released from prison, he’ll be under supervision for the rest of his life.

Varnell was arrested in August 2017 after he tried to detonate what authorities said he believed was a half-ton bomb outside BancFirst in downtown Oklahoma City. The FBI had learned of Varnell’s plan and an undercover agent posed as someone who could help construct the bomb, but instead provided inert materials.

A federal complaint filed in 2017 said a confidential informant told the FBI that Varnell was upset with the government and wanted to blow up a building in a plot similar to the deadly 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building.

Varnell was convicted in February 2019.

Defense attorneys claimed Varnell was entrapped and his parents testified that he is a paranoid schizophrenic, even though he was found mentally competent.

“We are thankful he did not get a sentence of life” in prison, which prosecutors had sought, defense attorney Vicki Behenna said Monday.