Neo-Nazi appears in court on explosives charges

- Arthurs led police to the bodies and to Russell's bombs. He told police all of the roommates - Jeremy Himmelman, Andrew Oneshuk and Brandon Russell - were neo-Nazi believers, but recently Arthurs converted to the Islamic faith and turned on his roommates

Especially, he says, after they made fun of his new Muslim beliefs.

Jeremy Himmelman's sister, Alyssa Himmelman says he had only lived with Arthurs for two weeks when things turned sour.

"He practiced some sort of radical Muslim and they were just disagreeing with his beliefs," said Himmelman.

In federal court Thursday, Brandon Russell pleaded not guilty to explosives charges and now wants let out on bail. But the government is fighting it, saying after he was questioned by police the day of the murders he lied and said he was driving to West Palm to visit his father, when he was actually headed to Homestead.

What detectives found in Brandon Russell's car and home grabbed the attention of the FBI.

Investigators say there was bomb-making material, weapons, and ammo in the garage and on his bedroom dresser. There was also a picture of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. On his computer, there was Nazi and white supremacist propaganda.

The 21-year-old, who is a member of the Florida National Guard, admitted to being a neo-Nazi sympathizer and making the explosive material.

Russell's sinister plot came to light after his roommate, Devon Arthurs was arrested and charged with the murder of their two other roommates.

They say he picked up a buddy and drove to a Bass Pro Shops where he bought two long guns and 500 rounds of ammo.

The buddy told detectives he'd quit his job at Chick-fil-A and said, "he didn't know if they were coming back."

The federal prosecutor says Russell is dangerous and a flight risk and should not be released on bond.

But Russell's grandmother, Molly Lue Russell put her Orlando home up for collateral. The grandmother told the judge her grandson "would not skip bail. That's how much faith I have in him."

When the judge asked if she knew her grandson was involved in neo-Nazi propaganda she responded, "No, I didn't know he was into all this."

Brandon Russell's mother, Bridget Russell was also in court. She handed over her son's passport and reassured the judge he was not a flight risk.

Federal Judge Thomas McCoun appeared to be leaning towards releasing Russell on bond and putting him on house arrest.

Judge McCoun said he would have a decision by Friday, but before leaving the bench he turned to Russell and said the picture prosecutors were painting of him, "is inherently threatening in today's world."

Up Next:

Up Next

  • Neo-Nazi appears in court on explosives charges
  • Polk County thieves targeting boats more often
  • Woman injured in Clearwater house fire
  • Standoff ensues after man tries to flee Tampa crash scene
  • Cleaning up Kennedy on Tampa council members agenda
  • St. Pete police seek elderly man's stolen tricycle
  • Free clinics help fill Florida's widening health care gap
  • Rescuers searching for tiny orphaned bobcat kitten
  • Police: Suspect remains at large after robbing a hotel clerk at gunpoint
  • Water main break creates hole in apartment complex