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Press Release

Man Sentenced to Eighteen Years in Federal Prison for Possessing a Molotov Cocktail, Interstate Stalking, and Possessing Child Pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Washington

Spokane – Joseph H. Harrington, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Cameron C. Butler, age 38, formerly of Broward County, Florida, was sentenced after having pleaded guilty on November 9, 2017, to Possession of an Unregistered Destructive Device (a Molotov cocktail), Interstate Stalking, and Possession of Child Pornography. Chief United States District Judge Thomas O. Rice sentenced Butler to an eighteen-year term of imprisonment, to be followed by a twenty-year term of court supervision after he is released from Federal prison. Upon release from prison, Butler will be required to register as a Sex Offender for the rest of his life.

According to facts disclosed during court proceedings, in the early morning of July 21, 2016, Butler threw multiple Molotov cocktails (glass beer bottles filled with gasoline and lit with a wick) at a residence occupied by his former girlfriend and four other people in Spokane, Washington. One Molotov cocktail broke a window and ignited a small fire in the residence, but Spokane Police Department officers quickly arrived and extinguished it. A Spokane Fire Department Arson Investigator recovered burned, broken, and unbroken Molotov cocktails at the scene. Investigators determined that Butler sent threatening messages to at least one of the residents the day before, and identified him as a suspect. One resident told investigators that the Molotov cocktail and ensuing fire caused her to fear for her life and the lives of other occupants.

Later that day, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Special Agents determined that Butler had outstanding arrest warrants from Broward County, Florida. The United States Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force developed information that Butler was in the Moses Lake, Washington area, and arrested him. Butler admitted making six Molotov cocktails in a hotel room in Ritzville, Washington, and then driving to Idaho and the Spokane residence of his former girlfriend, where he lit and threw the Molotov cocktails. When arrested, Butler also possessed a smartphone containing multiple images of child pornography as defined by federal law.

United States Attorney Harrington said, “Butler is a dangerous and violent criminal. The crimes he committed could have resulted in tragic deaths and injuries. The Court’s sentence will protect the community, punish Butler, and deter others who might consider committing similar crimes in our community. Ultimately, the positive resolution of this case demonstrates the essential partnerships between federal, state and local law enforcement that keep our community safe. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington will continue to prosecute aggressively and seek appropriate punishment for violent crimes and child pornography offenses.”

Darek G. Pleasants, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Seattle Field Division, said, “The investigation and conviction of Butler is a reflection of a successful joint investigation with state and federal partners. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives remains committed to partnering with our local, state, and federal agencies and the United States Attorney’s Office to investigate violent crime. This case demonstrates the success that law enforcement agencies can have when focusing on violent criminals and child predators.”

Brian Schaeffer, Fire Chief, Spokane Fire Department, said, “The Spokane Fire Department is extremely thankful to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, for their leadership and expertise in this case and throughout our long partnership. A case with this high level of legal complexity and with so many jurisdictional boundaries clearly demonstrates the importance of the collaboration between the Spokane Fire Department and our Federal partners. I firmly believe that all law and fire agencies should continue to collaborate and share expertise in order to have similar results as Mr. Butler’s conviction.”

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; United States Marshals Service; Spokane Police Department Domestic Violence Unit; and, Spokane Fire Department Special Investigations Unit. The case was prosecuted by James A. Goeke, an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.

Updated March 8, 2018

Press Release Number: 16-CR-00142-TOR; 17-CR-00211-TOR