A 20-year-old Edmonds man pleaded guilty 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.
Kelly Thomas Jackson faces a maximum 10 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 Department 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. He was also 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 10 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, Edmonds and Mountlake Terrace police departments.