A Hendersonville man charged last year with the malicious destruction of property at the Metro Courthouse in Nashville pleaded guilty June 29 in U.S. District Court, announced Acting U. S. Attorney Mary Jane Stewart of the Middle District of Tennessee.
Wesley Somers, 26, was charged by federal authorities on June 3, 2020 after protests in downtown Nashville following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minn., took a violent turn on the night of May 30, 2020.
That evening several people gathered in front of the Nashville City Hall, also known as the Metro Courthouse, and began smashing windows and spraying graffiti on the courthouse facade. One or more fires were also set inside the courthouse.
Somers, who has distinctive chest tattoos with the words “WILD CHILD” and “HARD 2 Love,” was seen on video and in photographs attempting to smash the windows of the courthouse with a long object. According to federal authorities, one photograph in particular showed him holding an unknown accelerant and placing it through the window of the courthouse.
Somers was identified by the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department – Specialized Investigation Division, after receiving numerous tips from citizens, and was arrested in Madison, Tenn., on state arson charges on May 31. He was charged in federal court three days later. A federal grand jury returned and indictment against him in October of 2020.
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 the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department; the FBI; and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives; Assistant U.S. Attorney Ben Schrader; and Trial Attorney Justin Sher of the Department’s Counterterrorism Section are prosecuting the case.