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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 6, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


JURY CONVICTS ROCKAWAY BEACH MAN

OF ILLEGAL FIREARM


            SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Rockaway Beach, Mo., man was convicted by a federal jury today for illegally possessing a firearm.


            Billy Thompson, 54, of Rockaway Beach, was found guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm.


            Thompson was arrested on March 24, 2008, by Forsyth, Mo., police officers who responded to a reported disturbance involving a firearm in the parking lot at Lakecrest Apartments. Thompson, who matched the description provided in the report, was asked whether he was armed. Thompson told officers that he was not armed, but an officer patted down Thompson and, noticing a bulge on his lower back, found a fully loaded Hi-Point 9 mm pistol in a holster under Thompson’s coat.


            Police officers later learned that Thompson and another individual had been engaged in a dispute over the ownership of a set of tire rims. During the altercation, Thompson left the scene and returned with a firearm.


            Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition. Thompson has eight prior felony convictions, including driving while intoxicated, interstate transportation of a stolen motor vehicle, concealing stolen property and escape from a penal institution.


            Under federal statutes, Thompson may be subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 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.


            Following the presentation of evidence, the jury in the U.S. District Court in Springfield deliberated about 20 minutes before returning the guilty verdict to U.S. District Judge Ortrie D. Smith, ending a trial that began today.


            This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Murray and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Kelleher. It was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Forsyth, Mo., Police Department.


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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