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Press Release

Butts County Convicted Felon Sentenced For Possessing A Firearm Under Project Safe Neighborhoods

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Georgia

ATHENS: Charles E. Peeler, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, announces that today, Benjamin Blackburn, aged 50, of Jackson, Georgia, was sentenced to 43 months imprisonment for Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon by United States District Judge C. Ashley Royal in Athens.

At his plea hearing, Mr. Blackburn admitted that on June 29, 2017, officers with the Athens-Clarke County Police Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation executed a search warrant at his residence.  The warrant authorized a search for a revolver, bullet holes inside the house, ammunition, and any other firearms owned by Mr. Blackburn.  Mr. Blackburn also had an active arrest warrant in Athens-Clarke County for Aggravated Assault-Strangulation, Battery, and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, all arising from an alleged June 10, 2017 assault.  Mr. Blackburn refused to exit the residence, ultimately leading to law enforcement deploying multiple CS gas rounds into the home before a SWAT team was able to apprehend Mr. Blackburn.  A subsequent search revealed an FN Herstal Police Shotgun and a Taurus, .38 caliber revolver.

Mr. Blackburn was prohibited from possessing a firearm due to convictions for Felony Possession of a Controlled Substance in Williamson County, Texas in 1986; Felony Possession of Methamphetamine in Williamson County, Texas in 1989; and Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon in Travis County, Texas in 2000. 

“Mr. Blackburn has a demonstrated history of violence, and as a felon, he never should have picked up a gun,” said U.S. Attorney Charles E. Peeler.  “Now he is headed to federal prison, from which there is no parole.  I thank our local and federal law enforcement partners who worked together to bring Mr. Blackburn safely to justice.”           

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 case was investigated by the Athens-Clarke County Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Peter D. Leary prosecuted the case for the United States.

Questions concerning this case should be directed to Pamela Lightsey, Public Information Officer, United States Attorney’s Office, at (478) 621-2603.

Updated August 10, 2018

Project Safe Neighborhoods