FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
MONDAY - April 6, 2009
HOPE MILLS MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO FIREARMS CHARGES
AFTER BREAKING INTO RESIDENCE AND STEALING WEAPONS
RALEIGH - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court here today ERIC JEVONNE BENNETT, 30, of Hope Mills, North Carolina, pled guilty before Senior United States District Judge W. Earl Britt to unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, in violation of, Title 18 United States Code, Section 922(g)(1), and possession of a stolen firearm, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 922(j).
A Federal Grand Jury returned a Criminal Indictment on December 30, 2008. On June 18, 2008, a male resident of Wallace, North Carolina, discovered BENNETT breaking into his family’s residence in Wallace, North Carolina. When BENNETT was confronted, he fled the scene in a stolen van with property belonging to the man, including four shotguns, a Boito, 12 gauge shotgun; a Franchi Model I-12, 12 gauge shotgun; a Marlin Model 5512, 12 gauge shotgun; and a Stoeger Model Condor I, 12 gauge shotgun. The man and a friend chased BENNETT in their vehicle until BENNETT pulled over, got out of the van, and took several shots at the man’s vehicle with one of the shotguns. Duplin County Sheriff’s deputies intercepted BENNETT’s vehicle and initiated a highspeed pursuit. BENNETT eventually wrecked the van in a ditch and fled on foot into nearby woods, where he was apprehended. In the vehicle, officers recovered the firearms.
BENNETT’s criminal history includes felony auto larceny, possession of cocaine, several counts of breaking and entering, selling cocaine, felony conversion, auto larceny, and robbery.
Mr. Holding commented, “This case is a reminder of the threats and danger law enforcement face everyday. Thus, we applaud their efforts that removed a dangerous offender from our community.”
Sentencing is scheduled for the July 7, 2009, term of court.
The maximum penalties for each charge are up to 10 years imprisonment followed by up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000 fine.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods which encourages federal, state, and local agencies to cooperate in a unified “team effort” against gun crime, targeting repeat offenders who continually plague their communities.
Investigation of the case was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Duplin County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Ethan Ontjes served as prosecutor for the government
News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.