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Thursday - September 16, 2004

WILMINGTON - United States Attorney Frank D. Whitney announced that JULIO GUZMAN, a/k/a Van, was sentenced in federal court in Wilmington on Wednesday, September 8, 2004, for possessing a firearm after he had been convicted previously of a felony. Senior U. S. District Judge James C. Fox sentenced GUZMAN to 120 months imprisonment, the statutory maximum, to be followed by three years of supervised release.

GUZMAN, 39, of 1893 Paisley Drive, Lumberton, N. C., was indicted by a federal grand jury in Greenville on December 10, 2003. He was convicted on April 15, 2004, following a half-day jury trial in Wilmington.

During GUZMAN's sentencing hearing, Judge Fox found that a cross-reference to the homicide section of the United States Sentencing Guidelines was appropriate due to proof, by a preponderance of evidence, that GUZMAN used the firearm in the commission of a murder. In order to sustain this burden, the government provided evidence that GUZMAN engaged in an escalating feud with a 20-year-old man, which resulted in the murder of the young man's father. Specifically, after a previous altercation, during which GUZMAN held a gun to the young man's head, the young man obtained an assault rifle and conducted a drive-by shooting of GUZMAN's car. On the next day, GUZMAN (along with one other man) retaliated by approaching the young man's father in the front yard of his house and shooting him multiple times as he stood unarmed in his yard. As the young man's father lay dying, GUZMAN fled the scene but was tracked down within approximately one hour and found in possession of a firearm.

Investigation of the case was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. Assistant U. S. Attorney Dennis M. Duffy prosecuted the case for the United States.


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