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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 17, 2014

Oregon Man Sentenced For Illegal Possession Of Firearms

The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Helena on March 24, 2014 before U.S. District Judge Sam Haddon, CHRISTOPHER ROBERT LAWRENCE was sentenced to 180 months imprisonment and 5 years supervised release.

The sentence is in connection with Lawrence's December 2013 guilty plea to being a felon in possession of firearms. In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paulette L. Stewart, the government stated that On October 16, 2009, Christopher Robert Lawrence, a convicted felon who absconded from Oregon state supervision, possessed three firearms in Bozeman, Montana. Lawrence is believed to be an Armed Career Criminal due to prior, Oregon convictions for burglary and robbery.

On October 16, 2009, a hotel employee turned over a Derringer handgun to the Bozeman Police Chief and Deputy Chief, who were having lunch at the Grantree Hotel restaurant. The employee explained that the handgun was recovered from the business center after a male and female staying at the hotel left the business center in Bozeman, Montana. The employee provided the room number to officers. The officers went to the room. After knocking and announcing themselves, the officers heard voices and shuffling. One officer observed a man (Lawrence) exit the room through the window, run to a nearby vehicle, and drive quickly away.

Upon further investigation and search warrant execution, officers recovered two more handguns from the hotel room. The Ruger 9mm pistol was located in a night stand near with window that Lawrence walked out of. Officers also located a few partial boxes of 9mm ammunition. At the time, the female claimed ownership and possession of all three handguns.

The female later provided a statement in August of 2012 detailing her involvement with Lawrence and his possession of the three firearms and 9mm ammunition in this case. Lawrence lived with her during the summer of 2009. She knew he was a convicted felon who could not have firearm. Both of them were using heroin. Lawrence was obsessed with her two firearms - the Smith and Wesson and the .38 caliber revolver. She purchased the Ruger 9mm for Lawrence. He took her to the convenience store, told her to fill out the form, and buy the gun. She did as she was told although they already had two guns. The female dropped the derringer in the hotel. The derringer was in her pocket because Lawrence wanted the firearm near him. When Lawrence saw the police, he stepped back into the hotel room, placed the firearm in the night stand, and stepped out of the window again. She originally placed all three of the firearms in the room safe. Lawrence did have the combination to the safe and had access to all of the firearms.

Lawrence also provided a statement in November 2012. Lawrence admitted his relationship with the female during the summer of 2009. He acknowledged that he was messed up on heroin during that time - he used heroin during the time of the road trip with her, and he used every day until he was caught by the police and sent to prison.

Lawrence further stated that when the police came into his Bozeman hotel room that he walked out the window and ran. He went to a nearby Lowe's store, called the female, and asked her to pick him up. He admitted to touching the ammunition, but would not answer the question if he purchased any of the ammunition. Lawrence denied touching or possessing any of the firearms.

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Updated January 14, 2015