FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 1, 2012
Fayetteville- Conner Eldridge, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced that Nelson Rockwell, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, was sentenced today in federal court. In July 2011, Rockwell was arrested in Kansas City, Missouri, and at the time of his arrest, investigators found a pawn ticket in his possession that had been issued by a pawn dealer in Springdale, Arkansas. Missouri investigators informed authorities in Arkansas that they believed the firearm had been stolen in a burglary. On July 7, 2011, investigators met with the manager of the pawn shop in Springdale and he recalled the transaction and provided law enforcement officers with identifying information about the defendant, including a copy of the photo identification Rockwell provided to the shop during the transaction. Investigators determined that Rockwell had previously been arrested in Lawrence County, Missouri for 2nd Degree Burglary in July 2002.
Rockwell entered a plea of guilty on November 18, 2011 to being a felon in possession of a firearm that has traveled in interstate commerce, in violation 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(1) and 924(a)(2). During sentencing, United States District Court Judge Jimm Larry Hendren sentenced Rockwell to180 months imprisonment and 3 years supervised release upon his release from prison.
Rockwell was sentenced under the Armed Career Criminal Act, which provides a sentencing range of fifteen years to life for individuals who have been convicted of federal gun crimes and have at least three prior felony convictions for crimes of violence and/or serious drug offenses. This is another case prosecuted as a part of the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative, which is aimed at reducing gun and gang violence, deterring illegal possession of firearms and improving the safety of residents in the Western District of Arkansas. Participants in the initiative include federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.
This case was investigated by Kansas City, Missouri Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David Harris of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Arkansas.