LANSING - The Okemos man who officials say tried to attack an assistant prosecutor in a Lansing courtroom last month has been charged with terrorism, according to a release from the Attorney General's Office.
Joshua Harding, 35, faces up to life in prison if convicted of the terrorism charge or a second charge of assault with intent to commit murder. He also faces felony charges of carrying a concealed weapon and possession of a weapon in jail in connection with the Aug. 2 attack.
"I am thankful for the quick action of the Ingham County Sheriff Deputies in the courtroom and grateful that Asst. Prosecutor (Jonathan) Roth suffered no serious injury,” Attorney General Bill Schuette said in a news release. "Prosecutors like Mr. Roth go to court every day to provide justice for Michigan victims and I am grateful for these men and women who work so hard to see justice is provided."
Harding was sentenced Wednesday to 19 to 38 years in prison for a second-degree criminal sexual conduct conviction. Prosecutors and the sentencing judge described Harding, a registered sex offender, as a danger to the public, especially children.
As the jury was walking into the courtroom with its verdict Aug. 2, video shows Harding appear to remove a weapon from his sleeve and then run at Roth from the prosecutor's left.
On the video, Meridian Township Detective Brian Canen, who was standing beside Roth, sees Harding as he crosses the courtroom toward the prosecution table and raises his right hand, which appears to have the weapon. Roth ducks and Canen's arm appears to deflect Harding's arm as the detective starts to tackle Harding.
From the video, it appears Harding's weapon missed Roth's face by inches.
According to the release by the Attorney General's Office: The terrorism charge statute applies to a "defendant who commits a violent felony while intending to intimidate or coerce a civilian population or affect the conduct of government."
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(2016 © Lansing State Journal)