News and Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

TUESDAY - July 14, 2009

HOPE MILLS MAN SENTENCED FOR FIREARMS CHARGES

AFTER BREAKING INTO RESIDENCE AND STEALING WEAPONS

RALEIGH - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court here today Senior United States District Judge W. Earl Britt sentenced ERIC JEVONNE BENNETT, 30, of Hope Mills, North Carolina, to 360 months’ imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release.

A Federal Grand Jury returned a Criminal Indictment on December 30, 2008. On April 6, 2009, BENNETT pled guilty to unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a stolen firearm.

On June 18, 2008, a male resident of Wallace, North Carolina, discovered BENNETT breaking into his family’s residence. 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.”

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.

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