News and Press Releases

Joshua A. Morgan Sentenced in U.S. District Cour

Friday, January 23, 2009

Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Billings, on January 22, 2009, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, JOSHUA A. MORGAN, a 24-year-old resident of Billings, appeared for sentencing. MORGAN was sentenced to a term of:

  • Prison: 28 months
  • Special Assessment: $100
  • Supervised Release: 3 years

MORGAN was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to being a felon-in-possession of a firearm.

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

MORGAN has had at least four felony convictions in the State of Virginia, thereby prohibiting him from possession of firearms.

On May 3, 2008, Billings Police Department officers responded to Rimrock Mall for a report of a male pointing a handgun at people and making threats. Officers contacted Rimrock Mall security guards who stated that several customers made complaints of a male in his twenties in a black Chevrolet Beretta pointing a gun at them and threatening to kill them. These complaints were made on May 2nd and May 3rd. Suspect information led to MORGAN, based upon cell phone information and a vehicle description.

Officers went to MORGAN'S known residence, but MORGAN was not home. A neighbor confirmed that MORGAN lived there and drove a black Chevy Beretta.

On May 4, 2008, officers located a black Chevy Beretta in the K-Mart parking lot. Three males were standing near three parked vehicles, including MORGAN. MORGAN lied about his identity and produced a fictitious ID card. An officer observed a handgun on the driver's side floorboard of the Beretta in plain view. When the officer attempted to handcuff MORGAN, he broke away and fled on foot. MORGAN was not apprehended at that time.

An officer recovered the gun from the vehicle. The gun was a Hi Point JHP 45, .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol. A search warrant was obtained and the Beretta was searched. A magazine loaded with ammunition was found in the car.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that MORGAN will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, MORGAN does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for "good behavior." However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.

Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Ed Zink prosecuted the case for the United States.

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

This conviction is yet another important outcome from Project Safe Neighborhoods, a national priority of the United States Department of Justice. PSN is designed as a partnership between federal and local law enforcement to reduce violent crime and gun-related crime through the vigorous enforcement of the criminal provisions of the federal firearms laws. In Montana, the effort under PSN is called "Catch and No Release."



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