Catherine Ross, NBC 5 Collin County Reporter
Anson Chi will spend 22 years behind bars after he pleaded guilty in federal court to charges he maliciously caused damage to a natural gas station and possessed an unregistered explosive device.
A Collin County man accused of trying to bomb a natural gas pipeline will serve 22 years in federal prison after reaching a plea deal.
Anson Chi, 34, was charged with attempting to bomb an Atmos Energy gas-regulating station in Plano in June 2012. The homemade device went off prematurely, causing little damage to the regulator but critically injuring Chi.
In the plea agreement reached with prosecutors Monday, Chi will serve the maximum sentence of 20 years for one count of maliciously causing damage to property used in interstate commerce. He also will serve another two years concurrently for possessing an explosive device not registered with a national database.
A third count was dropped as part of his agreement.
Chi's defense team did not comment after the deal was struck.
Chi may also be responsible for a $250,000 fine and for paying restitution to Atmos. Sentencing in the case will determine if Chi owes the gas company any money.
Chi told U.S. District Judge Richard Schell on Monday that he is indigent and unable to pay fines or restitution.
Atmos said it was aware of Chi's guilty pleas but did not wish to comment on the case.
The Case Against Chi
Federal investigators had been building a case against Anson Chi since identifying him June 22, 2012.
Chi was found severely injured near an Atmos Energy gas line along West Parker Road on June 18, 2012 after an explosion.
He originally told police he was hit by a car, but evidence at the scene indicated he was trying to tamper with the natural gas system when a homemade bomb he was carrying detonated, according to investigators.
Investigators first searched Chi's Plano home in the 3200 block of Anchor Road on June 20 and said they found several explosives.
An FBI agent testified before a grand jury that a search found significant amounts of chemicals and lab equipment, along with writing bomb instructions, in the Plano home Chi shared with his parents.
Agents also said they seized five unlicensed guns at the home.
Federal prosecutors say Chi had made the bomb, but it exploded prematurely.