Ocala, Florida – Senior United States District Judge James D. Whittemore today sentenced Willie Iva Jennings (36, Reddick) to 12 years and 7 months in federal prison for possession of a firearm affecting commerce by a previously convicted felon. Jennings previously had entered a guilty plea to the offense on October 22, 2018.
According to the plea agreement, on July 15, 2018, law enforcement discovered Jennings behind the wheel of a recently stolen automobile. While taking Jennings into custody, investigators located a loaded semi-automatic firearm in his pocket and Jennings admitted that the firearm belonged to him.
Jennings’s criminal history contains multiple drug sales and robbery convictions, as well as resisting a police officer with violence. As such, he is prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition under federal law. As a result of his extensive prior criminal history, Jennings qualified for enhanced sentencing as an Armed Career Criminal.
This case was jointly investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Ocala Police Department, and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert E. Bodnar, Jr.
This is another case prosecuted as part of the Department of Justice’s “Project Safe Neighborhoods” Program (PSN), which is a nationwide, crime reduction strategy aimed at decreasing violent crime in communities. It involves a comprehensive approach to public safety — one that includes investigating and prosecuting crimes, along with prevention and reentry efforts. In the Middle District of Florida, U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez coordinates PSN efforts in cooperation with various federal, state, and local law enforcement officials.