A man convicted in October 2019 has been sentenced to 5 years in federal prison for detonating a bomb that damaged a Beaumont church and planting another bomb that didn’t go off.
42-year-old Jonathan Matthew Torres, of Beaumont, was found guilty at trial of using an explosive device to cause property damage and possession of an unregistered destructive device. On Wednesday, his prison sentence was handed down from U.S. District Judge Thad Heartfield.
At trial, federal prosecutors successfully argued that in April 2018, Torres planted a bomb in a mailbox outside of Starbucks on Dowlen Road, which did not detonate. Prosecutors also proved that the following month, Torres planted a bomb which did detonate outside of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church on Delaware Street in Beaumont, resulting in damage to the church, but no injuries.
Prosecutors also said that during their investigation, the Beaumont Police Department began receiving cryptic postcards about the bombs, one of which was a reference to a deadly bombing in Austin a month prior which said “DO YOU WANT BMT TO BECOME ANOTHER AUSTIN . . . .”
Federal agents, using pieced together fragments of the bombs and also using the taunting postcards, were able to identify Torres as their suspect, and prosecutors said a raid at his home on El Paso Street in north Beaumont revealed the same bomb materials used in the two devices.