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Press Release

Jury Convicts Felon of Illegally Possessing a Gun

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Georgia
Armed Defendant Crashed Car in a Valdosta Yard While Evading Arrest

VALDOSTA, Ga. –A South Georgia resident with a criminal history was convicted by a federal jury of illegally possessing a firearm.

Shi-Young Lamar Sharper, 39, of Valdosta, was found guilty of one count of illegal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon at the conclusion of a one-day trial before U.S. District Judge Hugh Lawson on July 26. Sharper faces a maximum of ten years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 15.

“In this case, the defendant dangerously attempted to avoid arrest and crashed his car into a citizen’s yard. Thankfully, no one was hurt, and he was captured safely,” said U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary. “Working with law enforcement, our office will hold repeat offenders accountable at the federal level when they chose to illegally pick up a gun.”

“Repeat offenders in possession of a firearm pose one of the most serious threats to public safety in our communities,” said Rich Bilson, Senior Supervisory Resident Agent of FBI Atlanta's Valdosta office. “Sharper's criminal history demonstrates his disregard for the law, and now he will be held accountable at the federal level without the opportunity for parole.”

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, a Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office deputy attempted to a traffic stop on the vehicle Sharper was driving in Feb. 2021. Instead of pulling over, Sharper drove through the front yard of a Valdosta residence, struck some bushes and then ran away from the scene. Law enforcement quickly found him with debris from the bushes on his head and shoulders. Officers found a .38 revolver in his car. Sharper has prior felony convictions. It is illegal for a convicted felon to possess a firearm.

This case is being prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, 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 and FBI.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Monica Daniels and Sonja Profit prosecuted the case for the Government, with support from Assistant U.S. Attorney Hannah Couch and Criminal Chief Leah McEwen.

Updated July 28, 2023

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses