An admitted neo-Nazi who apparently worshipped Timothy McVeigh faces five years in federal prison on bomb-making charges as the outgrowth of a case that began with the double murder of two teens in Tampa, Florida.
Brandon Clint Russell, a 22-year-old member of the Florida Army National Guard and the founder of a neo-Nazi cell he called “Atomwaffen Division,” was arrested last May, sobbing in his military uniform outside an apartment he shared with three other young men.
Russell had just discovered the bodies of two of his roommates, Jeremy Himmelman, 22, and Andrew Oneschuk, 18, who had been fatally shot inside the upscale apartment.
The fourth roommate, Devon Arthurs, 18, led police to the scene and confessed to the killings, claiming the victims ridiculed him because of his recent conversion to Islam.
A search of the residence and a related garage turned up the bomb-making materials, which Russell admitted were his. A framed photograph of McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, was found in Russell’s bedroom, along with a copy of Mein Kampf and The Turner Diaries, a racist novel that has inspired domestic terrorists for decades.
Russell, who authorities said wasn’t involved in the double homicides, pleaded guilty last September to both bomb-making charges contained in a federal indictment returned three months earlier.
He admitted possessing an illegal destructive device and a high-level explosive material, Hexamethylene Triperoxide Diamine (HMTD), along with the blasting agent ammonium nitrate at a Tampa apartment he shared with three other young men.
“I’m sorry for what I have done,” Russell told Senior U.S. District Judge Susan Bucklew at a sentencing hearing Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Tampa, the Tampa Bay Times reported in today’s editions.
The prosecutors urged the judge to send Russell to prison for 11 years; his defense attorney suggested two years. The judge decided on a five-year term, to be followed by three years of supervised release.
It isn’t clear if the FBI now knows where Russell obtained the bomb-making materials or what he intended to do with them. Authorities initially said he may have intended to bomb infrastructure, but specific targets weren’t identified.