NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Hendersonville man charged with setting the Metro Courthouse on fire last year plead guilty to federal arson charges, according to a release from The United States Department of Justice.
Acting U.S. Attorney, Mary Jane Stewart for the Middle District of Tennessee, said 26-year-old Wesley Somers plead guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court. Somers was charged in a criminal complaint on June 30, 2020. This, after protests which escalated to acts of violence and intimidation on the night of May 30, 2020.
Investigators said Somers was indicted by a federal grand jury on October 14, 2020. On the afternoon of May 30, 2020, protestors gathered in downtown Nashville following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Later that night, several people got together in front of City Hall, otherwise known as the Metro Courthouse. They began smashing windows and spraying graffiti on the building. One or more fires were also set inside of the courthouse at the time. Several video clips and photographs of the destruction were posted on social media.
One photo showed Somers holding an unknown accelerant, which was set on fire, and placed through the window of the courthouse. Somers was identified by Metro Police after receiving numerous tips from citizens.
Somers will be sentenced on December 1, 2021 and faces a mandatory minimum of five years and up to 20 years in prison. The case was investigated by Metro Police, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives.