SANTA MONICA—James Wesley Howell, 22, a resident of Indiana was sentenced to seven years and four months in state prison on Thursday, July 26, after he was found with weapons, ammunition, and chemical explosives in Santa Monica hours before the 2016 L.A. Pride Parade.
In a press news release by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, Howell was arrested on June 12, 2016, after officers from the Santa Monica Police Department found him sitting in his car located near 11th Street and Olympic Boulevard with an assault rifle, a high capacity magazine, and a container of chemical explosives. Howell informed authorities that he was waiting for a friend and was planning on attending the L.A. Pride Parade happening in West Hollywood.
Howell’s arrest occurred one day after the shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida where 49 people were killed.
The defendant pleaded no contest to illegal assault weapon activity and possession of explosive chemicals and was convicted on Wednesday, July 25 of one count each of unlawful assault weapon activity, possession of a destructive device and malicious or reckless possession of a destructive device on a public street.
The Santa Monica Police Department and the FBI investigated the case.