News and Press Releases

Columbia Felon Sentenced to 15 Years on Federal Firearms and Ammunition Charge

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 4, 2014

Contact Person: Stacey Haynes (803) 929-3000

Columbia, South Carolina -----United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that RICHARD A. WILLIAMS, age 42, of Columbia, South Carolina was sentenced today in federal court to 180 months (15 years) imprisonment, to be followed by five (5) years of supervised release.  WILLIAMS plead guilty this past May to being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 922(g)(1) and 924(e).  Senior United States District Judge Margaret B. Seymour imposed the sentence after finding that WILLIAMS was an armed career criminal subject to enhanced penalties based upon his extensive prior record in state court.

Evidence presented at the earlier change of plea hearing established that at approximately 7:18 pm on July 30, 2013, officers with the Columbia Police Department responded to the Fast Point Convenience Store on Fairfield Road, in reference to an alarm call.  Upon arriving at the scene, officers observed WILLIAMS on the side of the building with his hand tucked into his waistline underneath his shirt.  WILLIAMS, after making eye contact with officers, abruptly turned and ran.  Despite officers yelling for him to stop, WILLIAMS continued running and dropped two firearms to the ground before ultimately being stopped by officers.  Officers recovered the two firearms dropped by WILLIAMS, a Smith & Wesson .32 caliber revolver and a Glock 9mm pistol loaded with 17 rounds of 9mm ammunition, and also recovered a small amount of marijuana in two plastic baggies in WILLIAMS’ right pocket, along with two box cutter knives.

The investigation revealed that WILLIAMS is prohibited under federal law from possessing firearms and/or ammunition based upon his prior state convictions.  WILLIAMS was deemed an armed career criminal based upon his prior record, which includes convictions for assault and battery with intent to kill (stemming from shooting in November 1990), assault & battery, voluntary manslaughter (stemming from a shooting in June 1990), and possession with intent to distribute cocaine.

The case was investigated by the Columbia Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and was prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state and local Project CeaseFire initiative, which aggressively prosecutes firearm cases.  Assistant United States Attorney Stacey D. Haynes of the Columbia office handled the case.

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