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Press Release

Abilene Man Sentenced To 20 Years In Federal Prison For Throwing Molotov Cocktails Onto Roof Of Convenience Store That Resulted In Injury To His Ex-Wife

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Texas

ABILENE, Texas —Kenneth Mark McWilliams, 54, was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Jorge A. Solis to 20 years in federal prison for throwing Molotov cocktails onto the roof of a convenience store in Abilene, that resulted in personal injury to his ex-wife when she ran out of the building and he shot and assaulted her. McWilliams, a resident of Abilene, has been in custody since his arrest following the incident in May 2010. The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.

McWilliams pleaded guilty in September 2012 to a superseding information charging one count of maliciously damaging a building by fire resulting in personal injury. According to documents filed in the case, on May 31, 2010, McWilliams went to Allsup’s Convenience Store, located on Ambler Avenue in Abilene, where his ex-wife was working, and parked his vehicle at the back of the store. Armed with Molotov cocktails, McWilliams lit two of them and threw both of them on the store’s roof. They ignited and started a fire on the roof that resulted in significant damage to the building.

McWilliams waited at the rear corner of the building until his ex-wife and another female employee left the burning building. When he saw his ex-wife, McWilliams fired one round from a .12 gauge shotgun at her, striking her. Both women ran and McWilliams caught up to his ex-wife and held her against her will, used a stun gun to shock her and tried to tie her with a rope. When officers with the Abilene Police Department arrived at the store, they saw McWilliams assaulting her. They subdued and restrained McWilliams.

McWilliams had several Molotov cocktails in his vehicle, and during a search of his residence, law enforcement found not only plastic and metal gasoline containers, but a diagram that indicated a plan that McWilliams would use to carry out his assault on the convenience store, his ex-wife and others who may have been present.

The case was investigated by the Abilene Police Department, the Abilene Fire Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Deputy Criminal Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney Denise Williams prosecuted.

Updated June 22, 2015