Joshua D. Qualls Sentenced in U.S. District Cour
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on January 13, 2010, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, JOSHUA D. QUALLS, a 23-year-old resident of Billings, appeared for sentencing. QUALLS was sentenced to a term of:
- Prison: 24 months
- Special Assessment: $100
- Restitution: $579.90
- Supervised Release: 3 years
QUALLS was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to theft of firearms from a federal licensee.
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:
On February 3, 2009, DaddyO's Pawn Shop in Billings was burglarized. The burglary was committed in the early morning hours after a stolen vehicle was driven through the front windows of the store. During the burglary, two firearms were stolen, a Cobra model 380, .380 caliber semi-automatic pistol and a Taurus model 24/7 9mm semi-automatic pistol. DaddyO's Pawn Shop is a federally licensed dealer of firearms.
On February 17, 2009, Billings police detectives received an anonymous tip that QUALLS was involved in the DaddyO's Pawn Shop burglary. Following this tip, and through witness interviews, QUALLS and another male were identified as the suspects. Witnesses told police that QUALLS admitted to them that he and another male were responsible for breaking into DaddyO's.
On March 12, 2009, when interviewed, QUALLS admitted that he and another male were involved in the burglary of DaddyO's. QUALLS described the events that he could remember, including the theft of a Ford Expedition. QUALLS said after they stole the Expedition, he and the other male drove two vehicles to the area, parking one. Then QUALLS said he got into the Expedition with the other male. QUALLS said the other male drove the Expedition through the front of the store, while QUALLS braced himself. QUALLS said they left the Expedition in the store and fled on foot to the other vehicle and drove away.
QUALLS said he did not remember everything, due to ingesting methamphetamine, but he did recall handling two firearms afterward. QUALLS was unable to recall the location of the two stolen guns and they have not yet been recovered. The business itself was heavily damaged during the burglary and theft.
Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that QUALLS will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, QUALLS 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."