The man found with assault rifles and explosives while on his way to the LA Pride parade in 2016 has been sentenced to seven years in prison.
James Wesley Howell, 22, pleaded no contest to three charges in a Los Angeles court. These included unlawful assault weapon activity, possession of a destructive device on a public road or highway, and possession of a destructive device.
Just hours after the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando on 12 June 2016, Howell was arrested in Santa Monica after a resident reported someone prowling near their home. Police discovered three rifles and ammunition, alongside a five gallon bucket of chemicals they said could be used to create a bomb.
According to court documents read by ABC7, they also found a buck knife, a taser, handcuffs, a black hood, and a security badge.
While authorities feared a copycat of the Pulse shooting, it’s reported that he never admitted to planning to hurt anyone.
‘A sociopath with an automatic’
When arrested, he told the officers that he was going to the LA Pride Parade. However, the Indianapolis Star reported that he was fleeing Indiana for California as he was wanted in connection with the sexual abuse of a 12-year-old.
According to court documents read by the Star, he threatened to kill himself, members of the victim’s family, and the police if they tried to arrest him.
Howell also described himself as a ‘sociopath with an automatic’.
He has been sentenced to seven years and four months in a state prison.