Patrick Lawrence Henderson Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour
Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Great Falls on October 8, 2009, before U.S. District Judge Sam E. Haddon, PATRICK LAWRENCE HENDERSON, a 28-year-old resident of Great Falls, pled guilty to being a felon-in-possession of a firearm. Sentencing is set for January 7, 2010. He is currently detained.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Kory Larsen, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
On December 13, 2005, in Cascade County, HENDERSON was convicted of felony theft, therefore prohibiting him from possessing firearms.
Between November 5, 2008, and January 4, 2009, E.M. and Patrick Henderson, both recently released by the Montana Department of Corrections on parole, were involved in burglaries of numerous businesses and residences in Great Falls and the surrounding area. During these burglaries, a large amount of personal property was stolen. The estimated value of the stolen items was over $85,000.
Sometime between January 3 and 4, 2009, the home of J.H. and L.H. in Great Falls was burglarized. The front door was forced open and a smudged shoe print was observed on the door. The home was ransacked and a safe and other personal property were taken. The safe contained two handguns, both .22 semi-auto pistols. These guns and a large amount of other stolen property were found in a storage unit rented by HENDERSON'S sister.
HENDERSON'S sister was questioned and admitted her involvement and named E.M. and her brother, HENDERSON, as the planners and primary participants in the burglaries.
Witnesses would have testified that they saw E.M. with one of the pistols in his hand. These same witnesses verified that both E.M. and HENDERSON were present when the guns were stolen and when the safe was pried open and the gun removed.
E.M. and HENDERSON were arrested while fleeing from the scene of a burglary on Skyline Drive in Great Falls. In HENDERSON'S home, officers found shoes with treads that matched those found at the scene of many of the burglarized businesses and residences. HENDERSON called his other sister from jail after his arrest. During the call, he spoke about some of the stolen items. HENDERSON'S sister said she would get HENDERSON'S property from the storage unit and put it in tubs and take it to her home. They also discussed that law enforcement would not be able to gain entry without a search warrant.
HENDERSON'S sister rented a storage unit almost immediately after her brother was arrested, and pursuant to a state search warrant, law enforcement officers found a large amount of the stolen property inside. The storage unit is where the officers found the two firearms. Other property from the same burglary was found in HENDERSON'S Ford Explorer which E.M. and the witnesses said was the vehicle used in all of the burglaries.
E.M. was interviewed and admitted involvement in some of the burglaries in the same area as the home where the guns were stolen.
HENDERSON faces possible penalties of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and 3 years supervised release.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Great Falls Police Department and the Cascade County Sheriff's Office.
A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.