LAS VEGAS, NV – An Arizona man pleaded guilty Tuesday in a U.S. court in Nevada to illegally manufacturing tracer and armor-piercing bullets found in a hotel room where a gunman carried out the Las Vegas Strip massacre two years ago.
Douglas Haig, 57, was not accused of a direct role in the Oct. 1, 2017, shooting that killed 58 people and injured more than 850 at an open-air music festival. Prosecutors never alleged that he had advance knowledge of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
“Doug had no indication whatsoever about Stephen Paddock’s plans,” defense attorney Marc Victor said, invoking the name of the shooter during a prepared statement outside U.S. District Court in Las Vegas. Haig declined to comment.
“Doug was absolutely devastated when he learned of the tragedy” and that he previously sold ammunition to Paddock, Victor said.
Haig acknowledged before U.S. District Judge James Mahan that he had no license to disassemble, remanufacture and reload bullets at his home workshop in Mesa, Arizona. He used the business name Specialized Military Ammunition during sales on the internet and at gun shows around the country.
Haig closed the business permanently following an FBI raid less than three weeks after the shooting, Victor said. As a convicted felon, Haig now cannot possess weapons or ammunition.
The plea avoided a trial that had been scheduled to begin next month. If convicted, Haig could have faced up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. His plea agreement could get him about two years at sentencing Feb. 19. Victor said he’ll seek probation.
Victor argued that as the only person to face a criminal charge following the shooting, Haig could not be fairly judged by a jury drawn from the trauma-scarred Las Vegas community.