News and Press Releases

Brandon Lawrence Sentenced in U.S. District Cour

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Billings, on December 29, 2009, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, BRANDON LAWRENCE, a 22-year-old resident of Billings, appeared for sentencing. LAWRENCE was sentenced to a term of:

  • Prison: 65 months
  • Special Assessment: $100
  • Supervised Release: 3 years

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

In an Offer of Proof filed by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Ed Zink, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

An investigation by the Billings Police Department revealed that shortly before

March 8, 2009, LAWRENCE pulled a handgun and fired a single shot at a male individual during a fight outside a bar in Billings. Numerous witnesses observed the incident and identified LAWRENCE as the shooter when police arrived.

While placing LAWRENCE under arrest, officers recovered a Glock model 22 .40 caliber pistol in his waistband.

When questioned, LAWRENCE stated he had bought the gun on the street two to three months before. He said he fired the shot at an unknown black male who punched him in the fight. The firearm had been reported stolen on March 2, 2009.

LAWRENCE had previously been convicted of felony robbery in the State of California and was therefore prohibited from possessing firearms.

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

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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