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Edmonds man pleads guilty to unlawful possession of destructive devices during Seattle Riots

By Department of Justice | Press Release

KELLY THOMAS JACKSON. Courtesy of the US Department of Justice.

Seattle, Wash., January 6, 2021 – A 20-year-old Edmonds, Washington, man pleaded guilty on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Seattle to two counts of unlawful possession of a destructive device for his activities at a May 30, 2020, protest that turned violent in downtown Seattle, announced U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran. KELLY THOMAS JACKSON faces a maximum ten years in prison when sentenced by U.S. District Judge James L. Robart on March 29,2021.

According to records filed in the case, law enforcement investigated a number of criminal acts at a May 30, 2020, protest, including the arson of several Seattle Police vehicles.  Various videos showed a white male suspect in distinctive clothing using glass containers with a flammable material and a wick to burn or attempt to burn two police vehicles. 

Jackson was identified as a potential suspect in the case after an anonymous tip to law enforcement.  A detailed review of videos from the scene confirmed the suspect resembled Jackson.  Further, a court-authorized analysis of cell phone records placed Jackson in the area at the time of the fires.  Jackson was observed wearing the same distinctive clothing as in the videos.  Finally, additional evidence obtained by law enforcement includes a video of Jackson throwing one Molotov cocktail into a police vehicle and another video of a glass bottle with a wick. 

In his plea agreement, Jackson admits he accessed web-based information on how to construct Molotov cocktails.  The second Molotov cocktail was thrown at the windshield of a police vehicle, bounced off, and exploded in flames on the sidewalk outside the Nordstrom store. 

Possession of a destructive device is punishable by up to ten years in prison.  The ultimate sentence is up to Judge Robart after considering the sentencing guidelines and other factors.

The case was investigated by the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), with assistance from the Seattle Police Department, the Edmonds Police Department and the Mountlake Terrace Police Department.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Todd Greenberg.

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