Alabama man arrested in DC for guns, explosives admits guilt
Published 2:59 pm Friday, November 12, 2021
A north Alabama man arrested after police found multiple guns and incendiary devices in his pickup truck near the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection pleaded guilty Friday to weapons charges.
Lonnie Coffman, 71, pleaded guilty two federal charges of possession of unregistered firearms related to Molotov cocktails found in the vehicle and at his home near Falkville, located about 60 miles (97 kilometers) north of Birmingham, prosecutors said in a statement. Coffman also pleaded guilty to carrying a pistol without a license in a District of Columbia court.
Coffman, who already was in custody, could receive as long as 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each of the federal charges and five years and a $12,500 fine for the local offense, authorities said.
U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly scheduled sentencing for April 1.
Coffman was one of hundreds of people arrested after rioters supporting then-President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol and tried to block certification of President Joe Biden’s victory. Police found Coffman’s truck loaded with 11 jars containing a flammable liquid; several loaded guns; a crossbow with bolts; several machetes; camouflage smoke devices and a stun gun, prosecutors said.
During a hearing, Coffman said he had filled the jars with gasoline years earlier, so the explosive particles may have “vaporized” and been harmless, news outlets reported.
“I didn’t plan on blowing nothing up,” he told the judge at one point.
The judge said the Molotov cocktails were still “destructive devices” and accepted the plea.
In May, a judge refused bond for Coffman citing his participation in a militia training camp and large stockpile of weapons. According to earlier court filings, the FBI in 2014 identified Coffman as a participant at Camp Lonestar, a reported gathering place for Texas militia groups, and said he had information about two other militia groups.
Coffman, an Army veteran who served two tours during the Vietnam War, dealt with depression and “often spoke about the difficulty he had dealing with the experiences from the war,” a court document quoted relatives as saying. A family member said Coffman became a “hermit” after he separated from his wife, a document showed.