In a 2012 blog post Austin serial bomber Mark Anthony Conditt wrote for a home school assignment, he defended the death penalty. As part of that defense, Conditt mentioned Larry Harper, an escaped Texas convict, who "who committed suicide, rather than be captured" and returned to prison.
Conditt's nondescript post written for academic purposes looks grimly ironic today. He committed suicide by bomb early Thursday rather than surrendering to police.
As the mysterious serial bomber haunting Austin and surrounding suburbs between March 2 and March 20, 2018, Conditt kept the city on edge with deadly, well-made explosive devices planted randomly throughout the metro area. His bombs killed two—39-year-old Anthony House and 17-year-old Draylen Mason—and injured at least four more before police closed in Thursday.
The first three victims were two African-American men and an elderly hispanic woman, so police believed they might be dealing with racially-motivated crimes. The killer then threw a wrench in that theory, planting a bomb triggered by a tripwire in an upscale suburb. Two young white men were injured when one stepped on the wire.
Investigators told NBC that Conditt's careful construction of his bombs ended up undoing him, in the end.
The unusual batteries used in the explosives were the signature trait that allowed investigators to so quickly link the various explosions to the same man, sources said. One senior law enforcement official said the batteries came from Asia.
"These weren't your store-bought Duracells," one official said.
Multiple media sources reported that police zeroed in on Conditt's location some time after midnight and a short chase ensued. The bomber ran his vehicle into a ditch. Police approached and at the moment Conditt went from bomber to suicide bomber, an officer opened fire. The ensuing explosion injured one.
Social media reactions ran from the informative to the celebratory.
Another line from Conditt's old blog post defending the death penalty stands out in light of his dramatic end. "Living criminals harm and murder, again," Conditt wrote, "executed ones do not."
That includes the criminals who execute themselves.