PHOENIX — An Arizona woman accused of mailing bomb-making instructions and promotional materials from terrorist groups to a state prison in what investigators say was a plot to kill a warden was booked on suspicion of terrorism.
Police say Michelle Marie Bastian, 49, of Florence, sent articles from al-Qaida and Islamic State magazines that were found in the cell where her husband is serving a life sentence for murder. Authorities say the articles made it past prison security because Bastian disguised them as legal papers.
Investigators say her husband, Thomas Orville Bastian, converted to Islam after entering prison and later became radicalized. Investigators say Michelle Bastian mentioned in phone calls with her husband that he is a supporter of the Islamic State.
It’s unclear whether Michelle Bastian has been assigned an attorney. She was booked Wednesday on suspicion of terrorism, conspiracy to commit terrorism and conspiracy to promote prison contraband.
She didn’t make any comments during her initial court appearance. Her bail was set at $100,000.
A document filed in court by prosecutors said an investigative source told them last month that Bastian was going to provide the items to carry out the attack. It’s not clear whether the materials needed to build explosives were actually found at the prison.
Authorities say a search of Thomas Bastian’s cell turned up handwritten notes on how to build an explosive device and several pages from al-Qaida’s Inspire magazine that contained instructions on making bombs out of kitchen items.
Thomas Bastian, now 39, is serving a life sentence for a murder conviction in a 2007 shooting death that police said was a conspiracy to cash in on a $500,000 insurance policy. He was accused of being a member of the conspiracy, but police say another man fired the fatal shots.