A self-proclaimed neo-Nazi group leader from Florida, who amassed bomb-making equipment in his Tampa apartment, was sentenced to five years in prison Tuesday by a United States district court. 

Brandon Russell, 22, a former National Guard soldier was sentenced after he pleaded guilty to storing bomb-making equipment and possessing an unregistered destructive weapon. Russell, who has a dual citizenship of the U.S. and the Bahamas, created the neo-Nazi organization called the “Atomwaffen Division.”

Apart from explosive materials, the police also found a framed photo of white supremacist and Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, who killed 168 people in the 1995 bombing of a federal building in the city. Russell also showed interest in reading books like “Mein Kampf” by Adolf Hitler” and “The Turner Diaries,” which is William Luther Pierce’s anti-Semitic novel about race wars.

Even though the prosecutor wanted an 11-year jail term for Russell, his defense attorney, Ian Goldstein, argued for a shorter term as he felt there was no major indication of any criminal act. He also wanted Russell’s age and his attention deficit disorder (ADHD) to be taken into consideration before he was sentenced to a long term in prison.

The senior U.S. District Judge, Susan Bucklew, then sentenced Russell to five years in prison, which would be followed by three years of supervised release, according to the report in the Tampa Bay Times.

After the judge asked Russell to speak something for himself, he said, “I’m sorry for what I have done,” in a low tone.

Calling it a “difficult case,” Bucklew showed concern about Russell, claiming since he knew how to make bombs, he might get involved with other neo-Nazis in the prison.

Russell’s possessions came to light in May 2017, when Tampa police responded to a 911 call to an apartment where two men were found dead. The men were Russell’s roommates Andrew Oneschuk and Jeremy Himmelman.

Russell was not charged with murder, but another roommate, Devon Arthurs, was accused of killing 18-year-old Oneschuk and 22-year-old Himmelman. Arthurs admitted he killed the two friends because they teased him and were disrespectful after he converted to Islam. Arthurs also claimed Russell had explosive materials in the house.

While investigating the case of the two killings, police found an air cooler in the garage that was filled with an explosive called hexamethylene triperoxide diamine. The cooler also contained other explosive materials like ammonium nitrate and nitro-methane. It was not clear as to why Russell was not charged with possession of explosive materials then. 

According to a report in the New York Daily News, Russell’s mother Brigiite Chantalle came to his support and said, “I realized with Brandon’s ADHD and him not having his father he had struggles but through it all he was always a kind, loving, considerate person. He was always loved and shown love and I always tried to teach him right from wrong and lead him in the right way. I believe that in trying to fit in Brandon lost sight of who he is and who I raised him to be.”