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Suspects in alleged Richmond mass shooting plot appear in federal court

Stone: 'If there was evidence of a specific shooting somewhere, you would see that at sentencing'
2022 Fourth of July celebration at Dogwood Dell in Richmond, Virginia.
Posted at 3:25 PM, Aug 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-05 21:52:44-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Days after state prosecutors turned over a case involving two men police allege were involved in a Fourth of July mass shooting plot in Richmond, those suspects appeared before a judge in federal court for the first time Friday.

This comes as Richmond’s police chief and the city’s top prosecutor presented conflicting information regarding evidence of where that potential attack was supposed to happen.

Nothing was said in court Friday related to an alleged mass shooting plot, but Todd Stone, a legal analyst for WTVR CBS 6, said that if evidence exists it probably would not come out until later in the judicial process.

 Julio Alvardo-Dubon and Rolman Balacarcel
Julio Alvardo-Dubon and Rolman Balacarcel

Rolman Balcarcel-Bavagas and Julio Alvarado-Dubon, who are citizens of Guatemala, accepted the federal charges against them.

Balcarcel-Bavagas is only charged with illegal re-entry after he was deported twice before. At the state level, he was charged with a gun crime, but that charge was not carried over to the feds.

The U.S. attorney requested a bail hearing citing concerns that Balcarcel-Bavagas may be a danger to society.

Stone said prosecutors would have to present evidence that he is a threat during that hearing.

Alvarado-Dubon’s federal charge is consistent with the state charge, possession of a firearm by a non-U.S. citizen.

Prosecutors also asked for a detention hearing for him citing safety concerns.

Alvarado-Dubon waived his right to a preliminary hearing, meaning he recognizes there is probable cause for the case against him.

Stone said that any possible evidence of a planned mass shooting could come out during sentencing if Alvarado-Dubon is found guilty.

“Because they will do an exhaustive vetting of this charge and all the relevant conduct," Stone explained. "If there was evidence of a specific shooting somewhere, you would see that at sentencing. If it's not reliable, or they don't have enough evidence, you know, then then you're not going to see that at sentencing.”

Both men, who are expected back in court Tuesday, are in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

RELATED: Commonwealth says there is no evidence of mass shooting plot at Dogwood Dell Independence Day event

2022 Fourth of July celebration at Dogwood Dell in Richmond, Virginia.
2022 Fourth of July celebration at Dogwood Dell in Richmond, Virginia.

Depend on CBS 6 News and WTVR.com for in-depth coverage of this important local story. Anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.

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