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Press Release

Convicted Felon With A Violent Past Found Guilty In Federal Firearms Trial

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

Valdosta, Ga. – A convicted felon with a violent criminal past was found guilty this afternoon of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, announced Charles “Charlie” Peeler, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia. After deliberating approximately one hour, a citizen jury convicted David Earl Butler, 30, of Valdosta. U.S. District Judge Louis Sands presided over the federal jury trial in Valdosta that began on Tuesday, November 12, 2019. Defendant Butler faces a maximum ten years imprisonment, a maximum $250,000 fine and three years supervised release. Sentencing has not been scheduled. There is no parole in the federal system. 

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 illustrates our multi-agency effort to enforce gun laws that prohibit convicted felons from possessing firearms, particularly when the convicted felon has a history of violence,” said U.S. Attorney Charlie Peeler. “It is a priority of this office to identify and prosecute violent offenders who jeopardize the safety of our communities. I want to thank the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI, and the Georgia Department of Community Supervision for their work in this case.”

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 Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Georgia Department of Community Supervision. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Julia Bowen and Michael Solis are prosecuting the case for the 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.

Updated November 18, 2019

Project Safe Neighborhoods