RICHMOND, Va. -- A Guatemalan national pleaded guilty to illegal reentry into the United States in U.S. Federal Court in Richmond Thursday afternoon.
But, Rolman Balcarcel-Bavagas did not plead guilty to any charges related to a mass shooting plot that the Richmond Police Department (RPD) allege he and another man were planning -- as none have ever been brought and no mention of it was made in court Thursday or in court documents.
Back on July 6, RPD Chief Gerald Smith accused Balcarcel-Bavagas and Julio Alvarado-Dubon of planning a mass shooting at the city's Fourth of July celebration at Dogwood Dell. However, both men were only charged with possession of a firearm by a non-U.S. citizen who was not legally in the country.
No charges were ever brought in reference to the alleged shooting and in Richmond General District Court, when the Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney sought to withdraw, or "nolle prosse," the charges -- prosecutors admitted there was no evidence to support RPD's claim of a mass shooting at Dogwood Dell (but there was evidence of an unspecified shooting at an un-specified location).
The case against the two men was taken up at the federal level by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. But, like in state court, there have been no charges associated with an alleged mass shooting plot. Prosecutors have said Balcarcel-Bavagas has been deported twice from the United States, prior to this charge.
Balcarcel-Bavagas will sentenced on Nov. 10 at 11 a.m.
His guilty plea was accepted following a roughly 30-minute hearing by Judge M. Hannah Lauck, who told Balcarcel-Bavagas that the maximum penalty for his crime was two-years, a fine of $250,000, one-year supervised probation, and the likelihood of an immigration proceeding that could lead to another deportation.
Lauck told Balcarcel-Bavagas she was ordering a pre-sentencing report to be done, which will look at Balcarcel-Bavagas' history and the facts of the case and determine what the sentencing guidelines should be.
She said she asked the report to be completed by Nov. 3 because the defense and prosecution indicated their belief that the guidelines would fall between zero-to-six months. If that was the case, Balcarcel-Bavagas' attorney said he would have already served six months by December.
Alvarado-Dubon is charged with possession of a firearm by a non-U.S. citizen in the country illegally. No next court date is scheduled for him.
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