Men accused of plotting alleged mass shooting in Richmond waive rights to bail hearing

Two men accused of plotting alleged mass shooting in Richmond waive rights to bail hearing
Posted at 6:14 PM, Aug 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-12 12:09:58-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Two men accused by Richmond Police of plotting a mass shooting appeared in federal court Tuesday, and both suspects waived their rights to a bail hearing.

Since both men did not proceed with a detention hearing, there was no opportunity for the prosecution to present evidence that they could possibly be a danger to the community.

This marked the second time Rolman Balcarcel-Bavagas and Julio Alvarado-Dubon appeared in a federal courtroom since the state dropped charges against them last week.

While Richmond Police claim they planned to carry out a mass shooting at a July 4th event, "most likely" at Dogwood Dell, the U.S. government only charged Balcarcel with illegal re-entry into the country. He was initially charged by the Commonwealth with a gun crime.

Alvardo-Dubon's federal charge is consistent with the state's: possession of a firearm by a non-U.S. citizen.

CBS 6 legal analyst Todd Stone said the men likely waived a bail hearing because being in the country illegally is enough for mandatory detention in most cases. Therefore, he said it'd be "hopeless" for the defense to ask for bail.

However, the decision also meant there was no chance for potential evidence of a mass shooting plot to come out.

“The fact that they (prosecutors) didn't put out evidence of danger to the community-- you can't read anything into that," Stone said. "Because if they're here in the country illegally, and they're charged with criminal offenses, that means that they're not going to be subject to receiving a bail anyway.”

Federal court documents do not mention anything related to a mass shooting plot, and RPD has not yet made any evidence public that specifically points to a mass shooting. However, multiple guns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition were seized from the men's home.

Stone said if the evidence exists, it'd likely come up during sentencing for Dubon if he's found guilty.

"In the federal system, the most reliable time to see evidence of a mass shooting, if it's there, would be wrapped up in relevant conduct at sentencing," he said.

Balcarcel was also arraigned Tuesday shortly after waiving the detention hearing. He'll be back in court for a jury trial in October. Dubon has not yet been indicted.

Meanwhile, Police Chief Gerald Smith announced Monday he would stop answering questions related to the matter.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email to send a tip.

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