Bloomington Felon Indicted For Possessing Three Firearms
MINNEAPOLIS—Recently in federal court in St. Paul, a 26-year-old felon from Bloomington was indicted for possessing firearms on two occasions. On May 6, 2013, William Daniel Sewell was charged with three counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
The indictment alleges that on October 12, 2012, Sewell possessed a nine-millimeter, semi-automatic pistol and a .40-caliber pistol. Police stopped Sewell’s vehicle on a traffic violation, and saw the .40-caliber pistol on the floor by the driver’s side seat. Then, when they searched the vehicle, they found the nine-millimeter pistol in the glove compartment. In addition, the indictment states that on March 29, 2013, Sewell again possessed a nine-millimeter, semi-automatic pistol. Because he is a felon, Sewell is prohibited under federal law from possessing a firearm or ammunition at any time. His prior convictions include second-degree burglary in Anoka County (2010) and fleeing a police officer in Hennepin County (2010).
According to a law enforcement affidavit filed in the case, police responded to a reported fight inside a Minneapolis restaurant on March 29, 2013. At the scene, officers also checked out a nearby parking lot, where a group of men had gathered. As they approached the group, one of the men, later identified as Sewell, started to walk away. When police ordered him to stop, the man began to run, crossing traffic on Lyndale Avenue South. Officers pursued him and saw the pistol fall from his person onto the street.
If convicted, Sewell faces a potential maximum penalty of ten years in federal prison. Any sentence would be determined by a federal district court judge.
This case is the result of an investigation by the Minneapolis Police Department, the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, and the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie E. Allyn.
The case was charged federally through Project Exile Minneapolis. That law enforcement initiative was launched on July 22, 2010, as part of a city-wide effort to reduce gun violence. Through Project Exile, the Minneapolis Police Department and the ATF work together to apprehend serial criminals for violations of gun laws. Then, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office teams up with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to determine where those offenders will most effectively be prosecuted – state or federal court. Those determinations are based on the offenders’ criminal histories and current charges, among other factors. To date, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has brought charges against almost two dozen serious habitual criminals through Project Exile Minneapolis.
An indictment is a determination by a grand jury that there is probable cause to believe that offenses have been committed by a defendant. A defendant, of course, is presumed innocent until he or she pleads guilty or is proven guilty at trial.