SC man who spoke of admiring Dylann Roof to be sentenced on federal gun charge

SC man who spoke of admiring Dylann Roof to be sentenced on federal gun charge
Benjamin McDowell (Source: J. Reuben Long Detention Center)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A South Carolina white supremacist who said he admired Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof and pleaded guilty to a federal gun charge will be sentenced later this month.

Benjamin McDowell will go before a federal judge on July 11, 2018, at 10 a.m., according to court records.

McDowell pleaded guilty to one count of felon in possession of a firearm or ammunition in February, waiving his right to a trial and his right to appeal.

The FBI became aware of McDowell's "escalating white supremacist views on social media where McDowell advocated violence against non-whites and even expressed admiration for Dylann Roof and the extreme acts of violence perpetrated by him," a previous news release stated.

The FBI was particularly concerned about McDowell's comments made about a synagogue that made investigators feel the site may be a target for potential violence.

McDowell also expressed an interest in buying a gun on social media, and undercover FBI agents posing as white supremacists set up a sting to capture him in February 2017.

Ahead of McDowell's plea, he had to undergo a mental examination to determine his competency.

In court documents, it was revealed McDowell was treated for mental illness before. He told a judge he has been diagnosed with bipolar and schizoaffective disorder and takes anxiety medication.

It was also revealed McDowell once worked at the Horry County Government and Justice Center as a janitor.

McDowell's maximum possible sentence could be up to 10 years in prison, plus a fine of up to $250,000, up to three years of supervised release, and a special assessment of $100.

He originally pleaded not guilty in March 2017, but he changed that plea to guilty back in February.

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