OKLAHOMA CITY — The parents of attempted bombing suspect Jerry Drake Varnell accused the FBI on Tuesday of manipulating his mental illness to build a criminal case.

Varnell, 23, of Sayre is accused of trying to detonate what he thought was a bomb in a truck behind the BancFirst building in Oklahoma City on Saturday night. An undercover FBI agent had helped build the bomb with inert materials.

Clifford and Melonie Varnell, Jerry Varnell’s parents, said they were “distraught” about the situation and said federal investigators knew their son has the paranoid subtype of schizophrenia. They said they obtained guardianship over Varnell because a court found him incompetent and he had been hospitalized for psychiatric reasons “countless” times.

“What the public should be looking at is the fact that the FBI gave our son the means to make this happen,” the Varnells said in a written statement. “He has no job, no money, no vehicle, and no driver’s license, due to the fact that he is schizophrenic and we, his parents, do everything we can possible to keep him safe and functional.


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