Howell “had a loaded assault rifle with magazines rigged to allow 60 shots to be fired in quick succession, along with 15 pounds of chemicals mixed and ready to explode.”
Howell made his initial court appearance Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to three felony weapons and ammunition charges. The judge set bail at $2 million.
Alone, each item found in Howell’s car might not indicate anything sinister, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Keith Schwartz said. But together, they “just don’t pass the common sense test.”
“I cannot in good conscience think of any reasonable reason that somebody would be traveling across the country with all of these things,” he said.
Although Santa Monica Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks mistakenly tweeted that Howell intended to “harm” the L.A. Pride festival, authorities later said they did not know his intentions.
James Howell held on weapons and explosive materials charges. Stated intent: go to Gay Pride event; wrong on initial rpt of wanting to harm
— Kenneth Semko (@SantaMonicaCoP) June 13, 2016
It was also ruled out that Howell was connected to the massacre of 49 people in Orlando, Florida on Sunday.
— Kristine Phillips (@bykristinep) June 14, 2016
A restraining order against Howell in Indiana prohibits him from possessing firearms.
Howell has said he did not intend to harm festival attendees.
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According to the Los Angeles Times, he was charged with three felony offenses – possession of explosives on a highway, possession of an assault weapon and possession of high-capacity magazines. Police also filed a misdemeanor charge, possession of a firearm in a car.
Trump-lovin' gun-nut James Wesley Howell who planned to attack LA LGBT pride has a history of criminal violence, yet had stockpiles of guns.
— Bill Madden (@maddenifico) June 12, 2016
Robert Boyd, Howell’s attorney in a separate Kentucky criminal case, said his client’s father and mother are struggling to get details about their son’s arrest. Details about the case, said Boyd said, “may have been blown out of proportion.They are very interested to find out the true facts of the case.”
Appearing at the Airport Courthouse in L.A. yesterday, Howell entered a plea of not guilty.
He faces up to nine years and four months in prison if convicted on all charges.
Watch a CNN report below.
(Image via Twitter)