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Press Release

Wayne County man pleads guilty to a firearm charge and attempted witness tampering

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Missouri

ST. LOUIS, MO – United States District Judge Stephen R. Clark accepted a plea, today, from Donald W. Sanders. The 62-year-old Williamsville resident pleaded guilty to one felony count of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon and one felony count of Attempting to Intimidate or Threaten a Government Witness. 

According to court records, on January 14, 2019, Sanders was inside a white Ford pick-up truck driven by another person. Officers tried to stop the truck, but the driver drove away. Eventually, the truck crashed and officers arrested Sanders and the driver. Officers found four firearms in the truck and recovered another rifle thrown from the truck during the chase. Officers later found a handgun in a motel room in Poplar Bluff shared by Sanders and the driver. It was determined; all of the firearms were stolen from residences in Butler County, Missouri.

On February 9, 2019, while incarcerated in the Butler County Jail, Sanders had a recorded conversation with a visitor. During the conversation, Sanders learned a female acquaintance was a possible witness against him for the firearm charge. Sanders expressed a concern the charge might be charged in federal court. Sanders made a statement to the visitor that the visitor should tell the woman, “Black River is very cold right now.” Sanders later admitted his statement was an attempt to persuade the woman not to testify as to the facts in the firearm charge.

Sanders has prior convictions for Escape from Custody in the Circuit Court of Wayne County, MO and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. He is prohibited from possessing firearms.

The Butler County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case. Assistant United States Attorney Julie Hunter prosecuted the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Updated September 17, 2020

Firearms Offenses