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Convicted 1990s North Carolina mail bomber resentenced

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NEW BERN, N.C. — A man convicted of mail bombings in North Carolina's capital city nearly three decades ago that severely injured his wife and damaged an office building has been resentenced to more prison time after two of his previous convictions were vacated.

Stephan M. Bullis should remain behind bars for another 10 years, U.S. Attorney Michael Easley Jr. said on Monday after Bullis was resentenced last week to 37 1/2 years in prison for the remaining four counts on which he was convicted in 1996.

A federal jury found Bullis guilty on counts related to mailing two pipe bombs he sent on or around July 7, 1995, to his then-wife, Tracy, who was an employee at Business Telecom Inc., a long-distance telephone company, and to another BTI employee.

The package mailed to his wife exploded as she opened it at the BTI building in Raleigh, severing most of her left hand, causing her other bodily injuries and significantly damaging the office building, court records show. The other package was later located at an out-of-service U.S. Postal Service parcel bin at Crabtree Valley Mall by postal workers and defused.

Bullis, now 58, attempted to kill his wife because he was in an extramarital affair and sought life-insurance proceeds, a court document said.

Bullis was originally sentenced to life in prison, followed by consecutive terms of 30 years and roughly 19 1/2 years.

But, last September, Flanagan vacated the two counts of using a destructive device during a crime of violence, citing case law that found the definition of a “crime of violence” unconstitutionally vague and thus such convictions invalid. That meant the mandatory sentences of 30 years and life in prison for those counts were voided, leaving only the 19 1/2-year sentence in place. Flanagan ordered a resentencing hearing, with probation officials recalculating a range for the remaining convictions.

During Friday's hearing in New Bern, Flanagan agreed to a sentence above the guidelines, which prosecutors said was warranted. They pointed out that the judge at the original sentencing called the crime “heinous” and said Bullis had a "lack of remorse for his actions.

The crimes occurred only a few months after the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building, which killed 168 people, and when the man known as the “Unabomber” was at-large, Easley said.

Bullis "knowingly risked harm to countless individuals and inflicted psychological trauma on numerous others,” Easley said in a news release. "This new sentence holds Bullis accountable for his horrific actions and keeps him behind bars where he belongs.”

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