East St. Louis Shooter Sentenced to Eight Years for Illegally Possessing a Firearm
Cartez R. Beard, a 21-year old East St. Louis, Illinois, resident, was sentenced today in federal district court to 96 months (8 years) in federal prison for illegally possessing a firearm, Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced.
According to court documents, on March 28, 2012, members of the WAVE Team came across a group of individuals, including Beard, standing on a street corner in East St. Louis. As law enforcement approached the group, Beard averted his eyes and turned his back away from the officers. One officer asked Beard if he had something on him that he should not, and Beard replied that he did. Beard told the officer he had a gun on his right hip. The officer recovered a Smith & Wesson, .40 caliber, semi-automatic pistol. The gun was loaded and a round was in the chamber. In late September 2012, Beard pled guilty to being a convicted felon who had knowingly possessed a firearm.
There is no parole in the federal prison system. In addition to the prison sentence, Beard will serve 3 years of supervised release and pay a $250 fine. United States Attorney Stephen R. Wigginton noted, “My office remains committed to prosecuting the district’s most violent criminals, especially those who illegally arm themselves with firearms and use them. As the Court recognized, Cartez Beard is an extremely dangerous and violent young man. A sentence this like one sends a strong message to the young people of East St. Louis -- Put down the guns or risk doing hard federal time.”
The WAVE Task Force investigated this case. The WAVE Task Force focuses its efforts on combating violent crime in East St. Louis, Washington Park, and surrounding communities. The WAVE Task Force receives financial support through the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) initiative, a nationwide federal program which endeavors to address gun-related violence.
Assistant United States Attorney Monica A. Stump prosecuted the offense.