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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


MARCH 10, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


PROJECT CEASEFIRE


INDEPENDENCE MAN SENTENCED TO 15 YEARS

FOR ILLEGAL FIREARM


ARRESTED AFTER PURSUIT ENDED IN INJURY COLLISION


            KANSAS CITY, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that an Independence, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for illegally possessing a firearm.


            William R. Wasmer, 34, of Independence, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple this afternoon to 15 years and eight months in federal prison without parole. Wasmer was sentenced as an armed career offender due to his prior violent felony convictions.


            On Oct. 17, 2007, Wasmer pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. Wasmer was arrested by Independence police officers following a high-speed pursuit on June 4, 2007. That pursuit ended in a vehicle crash that caused serious injuries to two persons in another car. Wasmer climbed out of the sun roof of the car he was driving and fled on foot into a nearby parking lot, where he was apprehended.


            Witnesses to the chase told police officers that Wasmer had dropped a firearm into a flower bed during the foot chase. Officers, using a canine unit, recovered a Llama 9 mm semi-automatic pistol.


            Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition. Wasmer has a prior felony conviction for stealing a motor vehicle, two prior felony convictions for armed robbery and a prior felony conviction for leaving the scene of an injury accident.


            This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul S. Becker. 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