Conway man who wanted to plan a Dylann Roof-style attack sentenced to 33 months in prison

Benjamin Thomas Samuel McDowell (J. Reuben Long / WPDE background)

A Conway man who police say wanted to plan a Dylann Roof-style attack was sentenced to 33 months in prison, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Benjamin Thomas Samuel McDowell, 31, of Conway, pleaded guilty to a federal charge of a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.

The FBI became aware of McDowell's "escalating white supremacist views" on social media where McDowell "advocated violence against non-whites and even expressed admiration for Dylann Roof and the extreme acts of violence perpetrated by him," the release stated.

He also said on social media that he wanted to get a gun.

An undercover FBI agent, posing as a member of a white supremacist organization, made contact with him after comments regarding "a particular Jewish Synagogue, which implied that this place of worship might be a possible target of violence."

Documents provided by the FBI state McDowell told an undercover agent, “I seen what Dylann Roof did, and in my heart, I reckon I got a little bit of hatred. I want to do s*** like that.”

According to a news release, while McDowell never revealed any specific plan to attack a particular location or victim, he did express a general desire to use the gun to commit acts of violence.

After multiple conversations with the undercover agent, the agent set up a sale for a gun.

Soon after the gun was purchased, McDowell was arrested.

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