Eleven months after their arrest, two Iowa men were sentenced today to two years in prison after pleading guilty to weapons charges in what prosecutors and police characterized as a plot against the 2015 Pokémon World Championships in Boston.
The Boston Globe reports that James Stumbo, 28, pleaded guilty to possession of an AR-15 rifle, while Kevin Norton, 19, pleaded guilty to possession of a shotgun. Both copped to possession of hundreds of rounds of ammunition. The two have already spent 335 days in jail.
Invited to play in the tournament's masters division, the two had allegedly posted direct and implied threats online against the event and other players before setting out for Boston in Norton's car.
Norton and Stumbo were barred Aug. 20 from entering the Hynes Convention Center, where the Pokémon World Championships were held, after which police spoke to the two men and obtained a search warrant for Norton's car. They discovered in the trunk a 12-gauge Remington shotgun, a DPM5 Model AR-15 rifle, hundreds of rounds of ammunition and a hunting knife. The two were arrested just after midnight Aug. 22 at their motel in Saugus, north of Boston.
Days after their arrest, Police Superintendent Paul A. Fitzgerald said, "We can never read someone’s mind. What we can read is what they were saying and the actions that they took, bringing the weapons they were showing online as a threat. [...] That could have been a mass shooting."
Attorneys for Norton and Stumbo maintained their clients never intended to carry out threats. Following the sentencing, Norton's lawyer Robert Le Roy said the two men simply committed an “error in judgment” by not researching Massachusetts gun laws, which are more restrictive than those in Iowa.