A Conway man accused by the FBI of planning a racially-motivated attack and who told an agent he was inspired by convicted Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof pleaded guilty to a weapons charge Monday.
Benjamin McDowell pleaded guilty to possessing a weapon despite being a convicted felon. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when sentenced at a later date.
The FBI arrested McDowell in February 2017 after he arranged to buy a .40-caliber Glock from an undercover agent. According to the FBI, McDowell spoke in several conversations of his hate for minorities and dissatisfaction with other white supremacists he did not think were willing to act on their beliefs.
According to prosecutors, McDowell eventually told the agent he was plotting an attack against a Myrtle Beach synagogue. According to the federal complaint document, McDowell posted to Facebook an anti-Semitic rant shortly before his arrest referencing Roof and claiming other white supremacists were unwilling to take the same steps as the convicted church shooter.
Roof killed nine African-American parishioners at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston in June 2015. He later told investigators he was hoping to spark a race war through his actions. A federal jury sentenced Roof to the death penalty last year.
According to court documents, McDowell pleaded guilty on February 5. However, a judge did not accept the plea until Monday.