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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


JOHN F. WOOD


Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html


NOVEMBER 4, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


FORMER VERSAILLES AUTO SHOP OWNER PLEADS GUILTY

TO ILLEGAL FIREARM


            JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that the former owner of an auto shop in Versailles, Mo., pleaded guilty in federal court today to illegally possessing a firearm.


            William Henry Blackburn, 48, of Versailles, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Nanette K. Laughrey this morning to the charge contained in a federal indictment.


            By pleading guilty today, Blackburn admitted that he was a felon in possession of a firearm. Morgan County deputies executed a search warrant at Blackburn’s residence and auto shop on July 24, 2007, at which time they found a Norinco 7.62 x 39 mm rifle as well as a loaded magazine containing 10 live shells and six live .22-caliber shells in a metal bowl in the master bedroom.


            Under federal statutes, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition. Blackburn has prior felony convictions for burglary, stealing, possession of a controlled substance and the distribution, delivery and manufacture of a controlled substance.


            Under federal statutes, Blackburn is subject to a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.


            This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Lynn. It was investigated by the Morgan County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Mid-Missouri Drug Task Force.


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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html