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Man in RNC Molotov cocktail case pleads guilty

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(AP) -  One of the men accused of making Molotov cocktails during the Republican National Convention reversed himself in court Tuesday and pleaded guilty to federal charges.

      David Guy McKay, 23, of Austin, Texas, pleaded guilty to three counts, including one count of possession of an unregistered firearm, one count of illegal manufacture of a firearm and one count of possession of a firearm with no serial number.

      Previously he had fought the charges, claiming he was entrapped by a government informant, but on Tuesday he told a federal judge that he and Bradley Neal Crowder would have made the bombs with or without the informant.

      "I think we would've done it anyways," he said.

      McKay's trial ended with a hung jury in January. A retrial was scheduled to start this week, but he avoided that with his plea.

      Chief U.S. District Judge Michael Davis ordered McKay into custody. McKay had been free on bond following his mistrial.

      McKay had tried to plead guilty on Monday. He said that while he wanted to take responsibility for what he did, the government informant, Brandon Darby, also had a role.

      Davis refused to accept that plea agreement and adjourned the hearing until Tuesday. By then, McKay decided to tell the judge that Darby played no role in the decision to make the Molotov cocktails.

      He claimed he, Crowder and Darby had discussed making firebombs, but that he couldn't remember who came up with the idea first. McKay said he and Crowder intended to do violence.

      "We didn't need Brandon there to make them," he said of the bombs.

      The men were part of a Texas group that came to St. Paul to protest at the convention, which was held Sept. 1-4 at the Xcel Energy Center. 

McKay was arrested Sept. 3 during a raid on an apartment in St. Paul during which eight Molotov cocktails - gasoline-filled bottles with improvised wicks - were seized.

      Prosecutors claim that McKay told an informant that he intended to throw the firebombs at police vehicles parked near the apartment.

      Darby was a well-known Texas activist who has said he became disenchanted with some of the radical elements of the activist community. He acted as an FBI informant and infiltrated the group.

      Crowder pleaded guilty in January and is awaiting sentencing. He didn't testify in McKay's first trial, but was scheduled to do so in the retrial.

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      Information from: St. Paul Pioneer Press, http://www.twincities.com

             (Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)