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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of North Carolina

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Kittrell Man Sentenced for Felon in Possession of a Firearm Charge

RALEIGH – The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Robert J. Higdon, Jr., announced that today in federal court, United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle sentenced JOHNNIE O’NEIL LEWIS, 35, of Kittrell, North Carolina to 60 months of imprisonment followed by 3 years of supervised release. 


LEWIS was named in an Indictment filed on August 8, 2017.  On October 18, 2017, LEWIS subsequently pled guilty to being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm and Ammunition.


On June 1, 2017, the Henderson Police Department (HPD) responded to a call regarding an intoxicated individual, later determined to be LEWIS, who was shooting a gun in a residential neighborhood of Henderson.  The HPD encountered LEWIS, a convicted felon, walking in the middle of the roadway, holding his hand near his waistband.  LEWIS was observed with his hand on a pistol in his waistband and was issued repeated commands to stop moving; however, LEWIS failed to comply with the directives and fled on foot.  A brief foot chase ensued, but officers were able to apprehend LEWIS without further resistance.


Upon his arrest, the HPD located a pistol approximately twenty feet from where LEWIS was arrested.  Additionally, a handgun magazine was lying on the ground next to LEWIS, who also had thirteen rounds of ammunition in his shorts pocket.  At the time of his arrest, the HPD smelled a strong odor of alcohol on LEWIS' breath.


This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.   Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made turning the tide of rising violent crime in America a top priority.  In October 2017, as part of a series of actions to address this crime trend, Attorney General Sessions announced the reinvigoration of PSN and directed all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to develop a district crime reduction strategy that incorporates the lessons learned since PSN launched in 2001.


The Henderson Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF) conducted the criminal investigation of this case.  Assistant United States Attorney S. Katherine Burnette handled the prosecution of this case for the government.

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Updated January 24, 2018