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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Montana

Monday, November 11, 2013

Joseph Michele Derius Peasley Sentenced In U.S. District Court

The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Missoula, on November 8, 2013, before Chief U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen, JOSEPH MICHELE DERIUS PEASLEY, a 21-year-old resident of Missoula, was sentenced to a term of:

Prison: 40 months

Special Assessment: $100

Forfeiture: gun and ammunition

Supervised Release: 3 years

PEASLEY was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to being a felon-in-possession of a firearm.

In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paulette L. Stewart, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

On October 31, 2012, in Missoula County, PEASLEY was convicted of assault with a weapon and thereby prohibited from possessing firearms.

On November 11, 2012, the Missoula Police Department received a call that PEASLEY was headed from the north side of Missoula with a firearm. PEASLEY was described as a white male, 6'11" tall, wearing a beanie or hat with a black backpack riding a red mongoose bike. A MPD officer located PEASLEY who would not stop. As PEASLEY continued to ride away from the officer, PEASLEY grabbed at his right-side waistband a couple of times. PEASLEY eventually got off of his bike and ran from the officer. PEASLEY ran into the canal before he finally stopped running. The officer had to keep his firearm trained on PEASLEY until backup units arrived.

When interviewed, PEASLEY admitted to throwing a firearm into the canal before he stopped running. PEASLEY stated that a friend paid him $85 to throw the firearm into the river. The firearm was black and silver with the serial number scratched off.

The next day, MPD officers located the black and silver, Kahr .40 caliber pistol in the river. It was loaded with six rounds of ammunition.

The caller from November 11, 2012, previously observed PEASLEY with the .40 caliber, black and silver, pistol on November 9, 2012. PEASLEY pulled the pistol out of his backpack and told the caller to, "check it out."

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that PEASLEY will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, PEASLEY does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for "good behavior." However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.

The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Missoula Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Updated January 14, 2015