News and Press Releases

News and Press Releases

Federal jury convicts felon of possessing a nine-millimeter pistol

January 16, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS—Earlier today in federal court, a jury found a St. Paul man guilty of being a felon in possession of a nine-millimeter, semi-automatic pistol. Demetrius Demarco Spencer, age unknown, was convicted on one count. He was indicted on November 14, 2012.

According to the indictment and the evidence presented at trial, Spencer possessed the gun on August 23, 2012. On that day, officers on routine patrol outside of a Minneapolis nightclub saw Spencer standing in the parking lot. He reached into his pants and removed an “L-shaped” item covered with a white sock. He carried the item to a nearby car and placed it under the front seat. Later officers recovered the pistol, which had been hidden inside the sock.

Because he is a felon, Spencer is prohibited under federal law from possessing a firearm at any time. His prior Hennepin County convictions include possession of a pistol by a prohibited person (2003), assault in the third degree (2007), and aggravated robbery (2007). Spencer was also convicted in Ramsey County for possession of a pistol by a prohibited person (2000).

In the current federal case, Spencer faces a potential maximum penalty of ten years in prison. United States District Court Chief Judge Michael J. Davis will determine his sentence at a future hearing, yet to be scheduled.

This case resulted from an investigation by the Minneapolis Police Department and the Violent Impact Team for the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Newberry.

The case was charged federally through Project Exile Minneapolis. That law enforcement initiative was launched on July 22, 2010, as part of a city-wide effort to reduce gun violence. Through Project Exile, the Minneapolis Police Department and the ATF work together to apprehend serial criminals for violations of gun laws. Then, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office teams up with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to determine where those offenders will most effectively be prosecuted – state or federal court. Those determinations are based on the offenders’ criminal histories and current charges, among other factors. To date, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has brought charges against more than a dozen serious habitual criminals through Project Exile Minneapolis.

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