News and Press Releases

Jury Finds Braddock Man Guilty Of Illegally Possessing Rifle

November 30, 2010

PITTSBURGH, Pa. ‑ After deliberating for approximately 30 minutes, a federal jury of five men and seven women found Otto Harris guilty of one count of violating federal firearms laws, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

Harris, 34, of Braddock, Pa., was tried before Senior United States District Judge Alan N. Bloch in Pittsburgh, Pa.

According to Assistant United States Attorney Barbara K. Swartz, who prosecuted the case, the evidence presented at trial established that on June 1, 2009, Harris, a convicted felon, possessed a CETME .308 caliber rifle. Since Harris has previously been convicted of a felony offense, federal law prohibits him from possessing a firearm.

Judge Bloch scheduled sentencing for March 24, 2011.  The law provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years and a maximum of life imprisonment, a fine of $250,000, or both.  Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based on the seriousness of the offense and the criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Pending sentencing, the court ordered that Harris continue to be detained.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Munhall Police Department conducted the investigation that led to the successful prosecution of Otto Harris.

This case is being prosecuted as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a collaborative effort by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and communities to prevent, deter and prosecute gun crime.

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