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Suspect Pleads not Guilty in Santa Monica Weapons Case
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Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica


By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

June 15, 2016 -- A 20-year-old Indiana man arrested Sunday on a Santa Monica street with an arsenal in his car pleased not guilty to three felony counts and one misdemeanor count on Tuesday, District Attorney's officials said.

James Wesley Howell -- who told police that he was headed to the Gay Pride Parade in West Hollywood -- was arraigned Tuesday afternoon in an appearance in the Airport Branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court, said Jane Robison of the District Attorney’s Office.

Howell is charged with one felony count each of unlawful possession of an assault weapon, possession of a destructive device on a public street and manufacturing or importing a high-power magazine, as well as one misdemeanor count of carrying a loaded firearm in a vehicle.

Bail was set at $2 million, she said.

Howell was taken into custody by Santa Monica police after knocking on a Santa Monica resident’s door and windows early Sunday, telling responding authorities he was headed to the Gay Pride parade.

The incident occurred only hours after the fatal shooting of 50 victims at an Orlando nightclub frequented by the gay community. No connection linking the incidents has been found.

On Tuesday, further details of Howell's troubled life came to light, including his investigation as a suspect in a May 31 sexual assault, according to the Indianapolis Star.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation served a search warrant Monday night at Howell's Jeffersonville home, according to the Star. FBI Officials would not say what agents were looking for, or if anything was taken from the home.

If convicted, Howell faces up to nine years, eight months in local custody. He is expected back in court on June 29, when a date for a preliminary hearing will be set, Robison said.

She said Deputy District Attorney Sean Carney with the Arson and Explosives Section is prosecuting the case.

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