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jury convicts columbia man of illegally possessing firearm

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 23, 2013

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Columbia, Mo., man was convicted in federal court today of illegally possessing a firearm.

Victor Lee McNeary, Jr., 38, of Columbia, was found guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Evidence introduced during the trial indicated that McNeary was in possession of a Smith & Wesson .380-caliber handgun on Dec. 11, 2011. According to court documents, Columbia police officers responded to a disturbance at Swan Lake Restaurant, 10 Southampton Drive, at approximately 1 a.m. on that day. An officer was informed that McNeary had been in possession of a handgun but had left the scene. Officers found McNeary at a McDonald’s restaurant and questioned him about the disturbance. When an officer searched McNeary and found the handgun in his coat pocket, McNeary was arrested.

Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition. McNeary has six prior felony convictions for robbery, two prior felony convictions for armed criminal action, two prior felony convictions for tampering and a prior felony conviction for attempted burglary.

According to a witness, McNeary started a fight inside the club and was escorted out. He started another fight in the parking lot that was broken up, and McNeary was told to leave. Instead, McNeary tried to run back into the club and tried to pick a fight with one of the security members. McNeary started walking towards his Cadillac that was parked across the street and continued to yell and scream, along with his girlfriend who was also yelling and screaming. As McNeary got closer to his car he started yelling that he was going to get a gun. McNeary entered the vehicle through the passenger side and pulled a small black semi-automatic handgun from the vehicle. McNeary left shortly after by himself and the police were called.

Following the presentation of evidence, the jury in the U.S. District Court in Jefferson City, Mo., deliberated for more than four hours over two days before returning the guilty verdict to U.S. District Judge Gary A. Fenner, ending a trial that began Monday, Oct. 21, 2013.

Under federal statutes, McNeary is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of 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 Assistant U.S. Attorney Lawrence E. Miller. It was investigated by the Columbia, Mo., Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Boone County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department and the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

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