News and Press Releases

Level 3 Sex Offender Convicted in Federal Court of Possessing a Firearm

September 21, 2007

WILLIAM GARY FUGITT, 39, of Tacoma, Washington, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Ronald B. Leighton to 293 months (or 24 years) in prison and five years of supervised release following his conviction in federal court for being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm. FUGITT was convicted following a bench trial on April 30, 2007.

Evidence presented at trial revealed that a warrant was issued for FUGITT’s arrest for violating probation. Community Corrections Officers found the defendant hiding in his mother’s home in Tacoma, Washington. When FUGITT attempted to escape, a brief chase ensued and he was arrested at gun point. A loaded .38 caliber revolver was later found underneath a mattress inside the room FUGITT was hiding in. After his arrest, FUGITT admitted the gun was his and said that he had planned to shoot the officers when they entered the house. He also stated that he wanted to be shot by the officers but changed his mind.

FUGITT is classified as a level 3 sex offender, defined by the Washington State Department of Corrections as an offender who poses a potential high risk to the community and a threat to re-offend if given the opportunity. FUGITT’s prior sex crimes include a 1986 conviction for 2 counts of Indecent Liberties, and a 1991 conviction for Child Molestation in the First Degree. The victims in both cases were minors. FUGITT has also been convicted of 11 other felony crimes.

At sentencing, the government asked the Court to impose the high end sentence of 293 months, stating that FUGITT is the type of violent offender that all communities fear. In handing down the lengthy sentence, United States District Judge Ronald B. Leighton stated that in reflecting on the seriousness of the offense, and the danger FUGITT presents to the community, his only conclusion is to impose the lengthiest sentence possible.

FUGITT was prosecuted in federal court under the Project Safe Neighborhoods program. Unveiled by President George W. Bush in May 2001, Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is a comprehensive and strategic approach to gun law enforcement. PSN is a nationwide commitment to reduce gun crime in America by networking both new and existing local programs that target gun crime and then providing them with the resources and tools they need to succeed. Implementation at the local level -- in this case, in Pierce County -- has fostered close partnerships between federal, state and local prosecutors and law enforcement.

The case was investigated by the Washington State Department of Corrections, the Pierce County Violent Crimes Task Force, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF). The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Kent Liu.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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