News and Press Releases

andrew Scott Benningfield Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Missoula on January 20, 2009, before U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy, ANDREW SCOTT BENNINGFIELD, a 37-year-old resident of Whitefish, pled guilty to possession of a firearm without a serial number. Sentencing is set for March 27, 2009. He is currently detained.

In an Offer of Proof filed by the United States, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

On August 10, 2007, the Whitefish Police Department arrested BENNINGFIELD for disorderly conduct and criminal mischief. At the time, officers located a firearm on BENNINGFIELD'S person.

The firearm was a six-inch long metal pipe with a metal cap attached to one end. It contained a nail-like object, similar to a firing pin that protruded from the metal end cap, and cloth covered the opposite end of the pipe. The cloth was secured by a pair of vice grips and a .30-.30 ammunition round was fastened inside the pipe by a rubber grommet.

A firearms enforcement officer with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives would have testified that it was in fact a firearm capable of firing an ammunition cartridge. This firearm was not identified by manufacturer or serial number as required by law.

BENNINGFIELD faces possible penalties of 10 years in prison, a $10,000 fine and 3 years supervised release.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Paulette L. Stewart prosecuted the case for the United States.

The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Whitefish Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.



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