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Press Release

Previously Convicted Felon from Philadelphia Convicted After Trial in Federal Court of Illegally Possessing a Firearm

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania
Video of the defendant brandishing the firearm was posted to social media

PHILADELPHIA – Acting United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Jesse Golden, 30, of Philadelphia, PA, was convicted today after a three-day trial of illegally possessing a firearm and ammunition as a convicted felon.

In September 2019, the defendant was Indicted following an investigation by the Philadelphia Police Department and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. In May 2019, a Philadelphia Police officer saw a video on the social media platform Instagram in which the defendant was sitting in a car with another individual and brandishing a distinctive painted-black revolver. Investigators determined that Golden had multiple prior felony convictions, so they obtained a search warrant for the defendant’s residence. During the execution of that warrant they found an unloaded revolver and 100 rounds of ammunition the same caliber as the firearm. The revolver they found matched the look (including the paint job) of the firearm in the Instagram video. Evidence presented at trial showed that testing performed on the gun found DNA that matched the defendant’s DNA.

“The crime of being a felon in possession of a firearm is a serious offense, particularly in a city like Philadelphia, where gun violence is prevalent,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Williams. “As the evidence presented at trial showed, Jesse Golden illegally possessed a gun and flagrantly displayed it, a video of which wound up on social media. Now, Golden is facing a mandatory minimum of fifteen years in prison if the Court declares him an armed career criminal, and he could face as much as life in prison. Our Office is determined to continue doing everything we can to reduce gun violence in Philadelphia by being ‘All Hands On Deck’ to get criminals like Golden off the streets for a long, long time.”

“A felon in possession of a firearm always presents a great danger to our community,” said Matthew Varisco, Special Agent in charge of ATF’s Philadelphia Field Division “The public is very fortunate that the Philadelphia Police Department was able to interdict the defendant before harm could come to anyone. We are committed to making our community safer by working with our local, state and federal partners in identifying and removing armed criminals from our streets.” 

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.   The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Philadelphia Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David Ignall.


615 Chestnut Street, Suite 1250
Philadelphia, PA 19106

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Updated May 6, 2021

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime