Florida neo-Nazi punished for bomb material in apartment where 2 were murdered

Prosecutors are seeking a maximum 11-year sentence for a neo-Nazi group leader who stockpiled explosive material in the Florida apartment where a friend killed their two roommates, calling him an unrepentant ideologue who poses a serious danger once he gets out.

"It's a hard case", said U.S. District Judge Susan Bucklew to him. "You seem like a very smart young man".

Russell, 22, is a member of the Florida National Guard and a dual citizen of both the USA and The Bahamas.

Brandon Russell, 22, a former National Guard soldier was sentenced after he pleaded guilty to storing bomb-making equipment and possessing an unregistered destructive weapon.

The homemade bombs were found May 19, 2017 at the home of Russell in Tampa Palms, Florida after Russell revealed to three friends the device. There, they found two dead men. That turned out to be Russell.

Police arrested a fourth roommate, Devon Arthurs, accused of killing Andrew Oneschuk and Jeremy Himmelman. "A photographic journey through Russell's apartment_the backdrop of the murder scene_is a chilling confirmation of Russell's intent to follow in the footsteps of his hero". But while detectives investigated, they discovered a stash of highly explosive materials in the apartment, and a cache of Neo-Nazi signs, posters, books and flags. On Tuesday, prosecutors showed a photo of Russell's auto, which had flyers that said, "Don't prepare for exams, prepare for a race war".

Inside Russell's bedroom, authorities said, they found several firearms, ammunition and a framed picture of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh on Russell's bedroom dresser.

But the case got stranger as investigators probed.

Arthurs admitted he killed the two friends because they teased him and were disrespectful after he converted to Islam. "He has accepted responsibility for his offences, and looks forward to serving his sentence and attempting to move forward with a productive and law abiding life".

According to the mother, Russell is on the autism spectrum and has attention deficit disorder.

"He was always looking for something to belong to", said a tearful Brigiite Chantalle Russell-Hilts.

His mother and grandmother described him as a follower who does things to please his friends but federal prosecutors say Brandon Russell, a 22-year-old from Florida, US, is actually a risky neo-Nazi leader.

Police encountered Russell the day of the murders when he took several people hostage at a local shop, where he was hysterically crying and confessing to the murders.

Prosecutors also noted that since Russell's arrest, others who have committed crimes have cited an allegiance to his group and its ideology.

Even though the prosecutor wanted an 11-year jail term for Russell, his defense attorney, Ian Goldstein, argued for a shorter term as he felt there was no major indication of any criminal act. Although he admitted to having the bomb-making materials, there was no evidence he meant to use them against anyone, Goldstein asserted. "He'll be in prison with other people who believe the same things".

In a court filing Sunday, prosecutors said he drew a diagram of how to make an explosive in a letter that was apparently meant to be delivered to another Atomwaffen member.

Prosecutors also found bomb-making diagrams, which indicated Russell planned to share his explosive device-making knowledge among other people.

After the judge asked Russell to speak something for himself, he said, "I'm sorry for what I have done", in a low tone.

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