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Press Release

Prisoner Caught Hiding Homemade Knives Pleads Guilty

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Georgia
Defendant Also Pleaded Guilty to Second Federal Firearms Charge

ATHENS, Ga. – An Athens resident with a lengthy and violent criminal history entered guilty pleas in two separate cases recently, admitting he hid homemade knives while in prison on a federal firearms charge.

Michael Anthony Randall, 32, of Athens, pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in Case No. 3:22-cr-00023 and one count of possession of contraband while in jail in Case No. 3:22-cr-28 on May 16. Randall faces a maximum sentence of ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine for illegally possessing a firearm and five years in prison and a $250,000 for possessing contraband. Randall was on supervised release at the time of the offense for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in Case No. 3:18-cr30. Sentencing is scheduled for July 9. There is no parole in the federal system.

“In fairly quick succession—including shortly before a federal hearing for his second offense for illegally possessing a firearm—Michael Randall was caught with a weapon, putting himself and others in danger,” said U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary. “This case illustrates the unceasing effort put forth by law enforcement to keep inmates and the community as a safe as possible from repeat and dangerous offenders.”

“Michael Randall is the definition of a repeat offender,” said Keri Farley, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “The FBI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to keep dangerous criminals like Randall off Georgia streets.”

“These incidents illustrate the importance of our professional partnerships. The Butts County staff did an excellent job in supervising this inmate and identifying his illegal acts. USMS investigators presented a case to the U.S. Attorney which yielded a successful prosecution. We work hard to ensure the safety of those that we are charged with safeguarding,” said U.S. Marshal Stephen D. Lynn.

“We have a duty to ensure the inmates’ rights are protected and they are in a safe environment,” said Butts County Sheriff Gary Long. “We are thankful for our strong working relationship with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Marshals Service to help us hold accountable those inmates who put the safety of others at risk.”

According to court documents, Randall was indicted for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon on Oct. 11, 2022, in the Middle District of Georgia, after he was arrested for illegally possessing a .380 pistol in Athens, on Jan. 12, 2021. Randall has multiple prior state felony convictions in North Carolina and Georgia, including assault with serious bodily injury and drug convictions. Randall was also previously convicted in the Middle District of Georgia for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. It is illegal for a convicted felon to possess a firearm.

On Nov. 8, 2022, while in custody awaiting his initial appearance in federal court, Butts County Jail officers found a shank—a handmade knife—hidden on Randall’s person. Officers found another shank on Randall on Nov. 10, prior to his federal court appearance. On Dec. 16, Randall was found with another shank inside the Butts County Jail.

The case was investigated by FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Butts County Sheriff’s Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tamara Jarrett is prosecuting the case for the Government.

Updated May 24, 2023

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