MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) — A Murfreesboro newspaper publisher allegedly had a meeting with a reputed Klansman and Muslim extremist about looking for backers of an X-ray machine he wanted to use to kill others.
Pete Doughtie, publisher of The Reader, was summoned to New York this week to testify in the terrorism trial of a Glendon Crawford, which got underway on Monday.
Crawford is accused of plotting to build building a radiation weapon he called “Hiroshima on a light switch” to kill Muslims and assassinate the President, according to prosecutors at his trial.
Doughtie hopped a plane at Nashville International Airport and flew to New York Tuesday morning at to testify before a federal jury.
“[Crawford] came down from New York and tried to explain it to me and then tried to find backers, which I didn’t know of any,” Doughtie explained.
Crawford is accused of a bizarre scheme to design and build a radiation-spewing X-ray weapon.
“What I understood at that particular time, he could, someone could, fire that weapon let’s say a block or so away and you never know it, but you’ll be dead in two weeks,” Doughtie said. “So, that kind of got my attention.”
Doughtie said he met with Crawford at a Hardee’s on Memorial Boulevard in Murfreesboro back in 2012 on a Sunday afternoon.
“The explanation he gave me was the fact that it was being developed with radiation, X-ray type stuff, which basically went over my head.”
Doughtie told News 2 Crawford wanted to share with him a “discreet and powerful solution to the third world invasion you are being forced to endure.”
Doughtie said two years after the meeting he was contacted by the FBI, who visited his home.
“They had tracked me through his emails and telephones, and this is what it has come to,” he said. “I was baffled and didn’t have any idea why they wanted to see me.”
As the conversation unfolded, Crawford talked about a device that would “blow a super hole in the Murfreesboro mosque,” according to Doughtie.
The Reader’s extensive coverage on the mosque being built in Murfreesboro, which caused quite a bit of controversy, may have been the reason Crawford contacted the publisher.
“[I guess he] thought I was a good candidate to maybe get involved in this because I think he got the impression that I didn’t like Muslims and didn’t want the Mosque in town,” Doughtie said.
But he said that’s not true; he says he was critical of the county planning commission’s handling of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro approval.
“A lot of people misread where I was coming from. I was more upset with the county the way they handled the whole procedure rather than a mosque being built in Murfreesboro,” he said “Everything the county did was sort of back room.”
Doughtie is not sure how much weight his testimony will carry in the trial.
“But for some reason they think it’s important for me to share what Mr. Crawford and me have discussed,” Doughtie said.
Crawford is also accused of soliciting the help of Eric Feight, a New York computer software expert, in the plot to design the radiation weapon.
Feight plead guilty to domestic terrorism last year and faces up to 15 years in prison for his involvement.
Crawford is facing three charges, including conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, something he claims he’s not guilty of. The trial could last up to two weeks.