News and Press Releases

Former Citronelle Police Officer Sentenced To Eighteen Months For Possession Of Stolen Firearm

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 1, 2012

United States Attorney Kenyen Brown announces, that United States District Court Judge Kristi Dubose sentenced former Citronelle Police Sergeant Bill Newburn to eighteen months imprisonment on two charges of possession of a stolen firearm. During the November 2011 trial, witnesses to one of the charges testified that Newburn took a Llama 9mm pistol on September 29, 2007, from the son of the firearm’s owner. Citronelle Municipal Court Judge John Williams ordered that the firearm be returned to the father when he produced a pistol permit. Testimony showed despite the owners efforts to recover the firearm, it was never returned to him. Over 3 ½ years later the firearm was found in the front seat of Newburn’s patrol car during an inventory of the vehicle.

Witnesses on the other charge testified that Newburn took a .22 caliber derringer firearm from a female on whom he conducted a traffic stop on March 11, 2001. The evidence showed that Newburn took the firearm, but no charges were filed, and a case was never opened. The actual owner of the pistol testified that he tried numerous times to obtain the return of his firearm. Newburn falsely told the owner that his firearm had been destroyed, while at the same time telling a fellow officer that the firearm had been condemned for his use as a back-up weapon by Citronelle Municipal Judge John Williams. Judge Williams testified that in his fourteen years on the bench, he has never condemned a firearm to an officer for this purpose. Testimony and evidence showed that it was only after new Citronelle Police Chief Shane Stringer confronted Newburn about the owner’s complaint concerning the return of his firearm, that Newburn turned the firearm in to the Department.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, in cooperation with the Citronelle Police Department and Task Force Officer Deputy Lorne Watts of the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Michele O’Brien and Vicki Davis.

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