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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


JULY 30, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


PROJECT CEASEFIRE


JURY CONVICTS INDEPENDENCE MAN

FOR ILLEGAL FIREARMS


FELON FACES 15-YEAR MANDATORY

MINIMUM PRISON TERM


            KANSAS CITY, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that an Independence, Mo., man was convicted by a federal jury today for illegally possessing firearms that he had stolen during a home intrusion in which he duct-taped a woman to her bed while he ransacked her house and fled by stealing her vehicle and leading police on a high-speed chase.


            Ronald Shufelt, 52, of Independence, was found guilty of being a felon in possession of firearms. Shufelt was in possession of a loaded Remington 12-gauge shotgun, a Marlin 30-30 rifle, a Winchester 410 shotgun, a Winchester .22-caliber rifle and an Arisaka rifle on Jan. 19, 2007.


            Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition. Shufelt has 18 prior felony convictions for offenses that include burglary, stealing and receiving stolen property.


            Evidence presented during the trial indicated that Shufelt struck the victim on the back of her head while she was getting in her car to go to work on Jan. 19, 2007. He then dragged her through the house and duct-taped her to the bed. While she was tied down, Shufelt began ransacking the house and taking items. Using a crowbar, he broke into a gun cabinet in the basement and removed the firearms. As he was leaving, Shufelt removed the key to the victim’s Trailblazer from the key ring and threw the rest of the house keys at her. She used a small pocket knife that was attached to the key ring to cut the duct tape and free herself, then called the police.


            When Independence police officers located the stolen vehicle, Shufelt led them on a high-speed pursuit but was eventually stopped and arrested.


            Following the presentation of evidence, the jury in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City deliberated less than three hours before returning the guilty verdict to U.S. District Judge Scott O. Wright, ending a trial that began Monday, July 28, 2008.


            Under federal statutes, Shufelt could be subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison without parole, up to life 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 U.S. Attorney John F. Wood and First Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Whitworth. It was investigated by the Independence, Mo., Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.


Project Ceasefire

            Project Ceasefire, launched in October 1999, is a cooperative initiative by federal and local law enforcement and the Kansas City Crime Commission that targets for federal prosecution persons who unlawfully use or possess firearms.


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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