"Baltimore Spectator" Pleads Guilty

May 8, 2013

Booking Photo of Frank James MacArthur after he was taken into custody following a standoff with officers in December.
Booking Photo of Frank James MacArthur after he was taken into custody following a standoff with officers in December.
Credit Baltimore City Police Department

 Frank James MacArthur, known online as “The Baltimore Spectator,” has pleaded guilty to possessing a sawed off shotgun found by police after a standoff at his Waverly home in December. MacArthur was sentenced Wednesday to three years in jail - with all but six months suspended – and three years of supervised probation. He was also ordered to pay a $500 fine.  Judge Alfred Nance also ordered that MacArthur, who said in court he was 37, to undergo a mental health evaluation.

Mark Van Bavel, MacArthur’s attorney, said that his client didn’t want to go trial because MacArthur didn’t want to return to jail “on an extended stay.”  Van Bavel said MacArthur could be released as soon as Thursday, based on time served.

MacArthur made news for broadcasting online and tweeting while inside of his home during a standoff with police in December, gaining a worldwide audience of thousands.  The standoff began as officers were serving a warrant for a probation violation.  Extra force was brought to the scene due to tweets that the Baltimore Police Department felt were threatening.  The standoff ended peacefully after more than five hours. The house is now boarded up and in foreclosure.