Alton Man Pleads Guilty to Firearm Offense
On November 2, 2011, Elijah Woods, a thirty-nine year old Alton, IL, man pled guilty in Federal District Court, in East St. Louis, to Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Previously Convicted Felon, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today. Woods is scheduled to be sentenced on February 17, 2012, at which at which time he faces a minimum potential sentence of 15 years’ in prison, to a maximum of life in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, not more than 5 years of supervised release after his prison term, and a mandatory special assessment of $100. Woods also agreed to the forfeiture of the firearm.
Facts brought out in open court were that on September 19, 2010, Alton police officers were on patrol in the area of Wescot Street and Central Avenue in Alton, Illinois. While stopped at a stop sign, the officers noticed a vehicle pass by them from which the smell of marijuana was emanating. As a result, the officers proceeded to conduct a traffic stop of the vehicle. At the time of this traffic stop, Elijah Woods was present in the rear passenger side of the vehicle. As the officers exited their patrol car, they noticed that the front seat passenger exit the stopped vehicle. One of the officers immediately ordered this passenger to proceed back into the vehicle. As the officer stated this command, Woods exited from the rear seat passenger of the stopped vehicle, moving past the front seat passenger, and began walking away from the police officer. The officer immediately yelled to Woods, “Police, stop walking away.” Woods then looked over his shoulder and replied to the officer, “I don’t need to stop.” At that time, the police officer began pursuit of Woods, which was unsuccessful. As this pursuit began, the front seat passenger stated, “He (Woods) has a gun.” This passenger then peered back into the back of the vehicle and stated, “Never mind. He (Woods) dropped the gun in the backseat.” The officers then observed the firearm, which was fully loaded, on the floorboard behind the front passenger seat of the vehicle, where Woods had been sitting, and recovered it. Shortly before this incident, the driver and front seat passengers in the vehicle had picked up Woods, who they knew as “Chris Taylor,” in front of the Cowboy Market in Alton. Upon entering into the vehicle, Woods possessed the aforementioned recovered firearm. Following the traffic stop of this vehicle by Alton Police Officers, Woods placed the firearm on the floorboard below the rear passenger seat in the vehicle, before fleeing. Prior to September 19, 2010, the Defendant had been convicted of a crime that was punishable by a term of imprisonment of more than one year.
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Alton, IL, Police Department.
This case is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Daniel T. Kapsak for prosecution.