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L.A. Resident Gets 20 Years for '83 Bombing of Hotel Rajneesh

November 10, 1985|United Press International

PORTLAND, Ore. — A 36-year-old Los Angeles man was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the July, 1983, bombing of the Hotel Rajneesh, owned by followers of Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh.

Multnomah County Circuit Judge Clifford B. Olsen imposed the maximum 20-year term Friday on Stephen P. Paster, 36, and another year for failure to appear at an earlier hearing.

A motive was not presented to jurors, but Deputy Dist. Atty. Charles French said in a pretrial hearing that Paster belonged to a militant, fundamentalist Muslim organization.

Olsen did not formally exclude evidence of Paster's religious beliefs from the trial but warned French and defense attorney Robert Goffredi that testimony about religious beliefs could lead to a mistrial.

Paster lost several fingers and suffered eye and ear injuries from the three blasts that shook the hotel on July 29, 1983. He did not testify at his trial.

In closing arguments, French said police found a "bomb workshop" and manuals describing the construction of homemade bombs and munitions at Paster's Los Angeles apartment.

French said evidence indicated that Paster set three pipe bombs in a fourth-floor room at the downtown Portland hotel. He said one bomb apparently exploded in Paster's hands before he could surround it with homemade napalm to feed the fire's flames.

Paster was arrested soon after the bombing but fled Oregon in September, 1983, after posting $20,000 bail. He was arrested last June in Englewood, Colo.

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