Prescott Sigmund, 35, stood in U.S. District Court in Washington and turned to face his brother.
“I’ve always loved you. I still do. I never meant to hurt you. I would do anything to take it back,” he said.
Sigmund was being sentenced for planting a home-made bomb in his father’s car in an attempt to kill him. Instead, on July 12, 2002, he maimed his brother, Wright, now 22, blowing parts of his body off and covering him in severe burns.
Many in the courtroom wanted to see a harsher sentence. However, rather than take the risk of a jury trial, those affected by the crime and the prosecution agreed to a plea agreement of 32 years in prison. Under Bureau of Prisons guidelines, he can receive 54 days credit for every year he serves with good behavior, reducing his sentence to roughly 28 years.
Judge Emmet G. Sullivan stated that he will recommend that Prescott Sigmund be placed in a maximum security facility, and that he not be allowed release for administrative reasons
After leaving prison, Sigmund will have five years of supervised release. He will have to pay restitution costs in excess of $600,000 and will not be allowed to have contact with his brother, ex-wife or his two children.
Prescott Sigmund pled guilty to one count each of assault with intent to kill while armed, using a destructive device during a crime of violence and mayhem while armed.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeanne Hauch explained the details of the crime and the events leading up to it.
Prescott Sigmund lost his job in Nov. 2001. “He didn’t tell anyone though,” Hauch said. “He chose to do something different.”
Sigmund would go into the basement of the home he shared with his wife and two young sons claiming to be working on business deals. “He was really only working on one thing. An evil plan to build a bomb to blow up his father,” Hauch said.
Hauch further detailed the fake identification that Prescott Sigmund used to purchase gunpowder from a store in Silver Spring. She explained that Prescott Sigmund knew that his father Donald Sigmund, who was not present at the proceedings, would be moving in July. The bomb, set with an electrical trigger that would explode when someone’s foot hit the floor on the driver’s side, was placed in the car in July 10 at a parking garage on Wisconsin Avenue in Washington, DC, Hauch said.
“Instead, by chance, the defendant’s brother, Wright Sigmund was totally unsuspecting when he stepped in the car,” Hauch said. “He almost bled to death at the scene.”
A few days later on July 15, Prescott Sigmund disappeared, said Hauch. He traveled across the country and began living in Missoula, Mont. under a false name, where he lived for months without being suspected.
After seeing himself on the television program, “America’s Most Wanted,” on Nov. 9, 2002, Prescott Sigmund turned himself in to police in Montana.
“This was a hate-filled crime that destroyed the life of a young man,” said Hauch.
Judge Sullivan throughout the proceeding touched on rejecting the plea agreement. “It is most significant that the family members concur. If I had been told otherwise, I would seriously consider rejecting the plea,” Sullivan said.
The defense attorney, David Bos, began to explain why the judge should allow the agreement to stand, “He has tried to express remorse as best as he possibly can,” Bos said.
“I can’t think of anything more diabolical,” Judge Sullivan said. “That person should never again walk in civilized society.”
Bos did not dispute the facts as Hauch presented them or that what Prescott Sigmund did was wrong.
“I’m not going to try to justify the act,” he said.
Prescott Sigmund, himself, spoke. “No words I can ever put together can properly convey the sorrow and regret,” Prescott Sigmund said.
When asked by Sullivan why he planted the bomb, Sigmund replied, “I don’t know. I want nothing more than to be able to give an answer.”
Over the course of the proceedings, Prescott Sigmund, while accepting responsibility for the act, was never able to explain his reasons. “I haven’t been able to rationalize it myself,” he said.
Prescott Sigmund’s mother spoke on his behalf before the prosecution called its witnesses.
First to speak was Prescott Sigmund’s ex-wife, Brady Bulk. She was recently granted a divorce from him and has moved out of the area with the couple’s two sons. She has changed her name to her maiden name and is working to change her son’s names as well.
“I an anxious that my children should not have to bear the embarrassment and stigma of carrying the Sigmund name,” she said.
Bulk requested that he be forced to visit the burnt-out husk of the car, and that he be required to have photos of Wright Sigmund’s injuries placed on the walls of his prison cell.
She pointed out that Prescott Sigmund used money from his children’s bank accounts to purchase some of the bomb parts. “He stole from his own children to finance his murder plot,” Bulk said.
At the end of her comments, Bulk turned to face her ex-husband. “You are a loathsome, worthless, failure of a creature. How do you live with yourself?” she said.
Bulk’s father and Wright Sigmund’s mother also spoke against Prescott Sigmund before Wright Sigmund came forward.
Pain was apparent in every halting step Wright Sigmund took as he approached the podium in the courtroom. Judge Sullivan allowed Wright Sigmund to sit in the witness chair, because as a result of his injuries he has difficulty standing, or sitting, for any length of time, but the witness chair would be least difficult for the man.
Wright Sigmund was incredulous that his brother could have done such a thing. “What in your life could have ever been so terrible?” Wright Sigmund said.
He also accused his brother of an extended campaign of deception. “There was never a Scott Sigmund as everyone knew him. … Your actions and the truth shows who you really are. … You will be remembered as a villainous coward.”
He also explained what his life has been like since the bombing.
“The fact that I am alive today has nothing to do with your intentions. I have had a fate much worse than death. … I feel terrified and alone inside.”
Wright Sigmund has had to undergo approximately 25 surgeries in the past year, and has five more scheduled for next summer. It was explained that he has been on morphine for so long that the powerful painkiller no longer has an effect on him and that he live in constant pain. “No longer could I move without screaming,” Wright Sigmund said.
Sullivan questioned Wright Sigmund about his plans for the future. The young man plans to return to college this fall where he is pursuing a degree in philosophy.
“I don’t know after that, ” he said.