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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Georgia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 2, 2020

Convicted Felon Sentenced To Prison For Illegally Possessing A Firearm

Albany, Ga. – A convicted felon with a violent criminal past was sentenced to 84 months in prison after a federal jury found him guilty of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, announced Charles “Charlie” Peeler, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia.

David Earl Butler, 30, of Valdosta was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Louis Sands in Albany federal court on Wednesday, October 1 to 84 months in prison followed by three years supervised release for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Butler stood trial in Valdosta federal court in November 2019. The jury took less than an hour to return the guilty verdict. There is no parole in the federal system. 

“A violent convicted felon terrorizing the Valdosta community will spend the next seven years in a federal prison for illegally possessing a firearm. We are working with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners to identify similar cases that belong in a federal court, where convicted felons caught brandishing guns will face prison without parole,” said U.S. Attorney Charlie Peeler. “I want to thank the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office, the Georgia Department of Community Supervision and the FBI for their work in this case.”

Defendant Butler was taken into custody by Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office deputies on April 3, 2018, arrested on an outstanding felony warrant for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. During a lawful search of the residence where Defendant Butler was taken into custody, deputies found a loaded .40 caliber Desert Eagle handgun and a box of .40 caliber ammunition. Defendant Butler was previously convicted of aggravated assault and terroristic threats in the Superior Court of Lowndes County, Georgia. The Defendant is currently on felony probation in Lowndes County. It is illegal for convicted felons to possess firearms.

This case was prosecuted as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

The case was investigated by the FBI, the Georgia Department of Community Supervision and the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Julia Bowen and Michael Solis prosecuted the case for Government. Questions can be directed to Pamela Lightsey, Public Information Officer, United States Attorney’s Office, at (478) 621-2603 or Melissa Hodges, Public Affairs Director (Contractor), United States Attorney’s Office, at (478) 765-2362.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Neighborhoods
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Updated October 2, 2020