Convicted Felon Caught Hunting on National Park Service Land is Sentenced
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that MICHAEL A. PETRO, 44, of Watertown, was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant in Hartford to approximately 11 months of imprisonment, time served, and two years of supervised release, for illegally possessing a firearm and ammunition.
According to court documents and statements made in court, on the morning of December 10, 2015, a law enforcement officer was patrolling part of the Appalachian Trail in Kent, Conn. Posted signs in the area state that the land is National Parks Service property and is closed to hunting. The officer observed PETRO in camouflage gear holding a Savage Arms/Stevens Model 311, 12 gauge shotgun, which was breached open and unloaded. After the officer asked PETRO where the shotgun shells were and PETRO denied having any, the officer and her canine located two 12 gauge shotgun shells under fallen leaves approximately 20 yards away from where PETRO was standing. A subsequent search of PETRO’s jacket revealed two additional shotgun shells.
PETRO’s criminal history includes a felony conviction for assault. It is a violation of federal law for a person previously convicted of a felony offense to possess a firearm or ammunition that has moved in interstate or foreign commerce.
PETRO has been detained in state custody since December 15, 2015. He has multiple unrelated state charges pending.
On June 13, 2016, he pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon.
Judge Bryant ordered that PETRO must perform 200 hours of community service during his term of supervised release.
This matter was investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Environmental Conservation Police of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, with the assistance of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Hal Chen.