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Press Release

Felon Who Absconded While Awaiting Sentencing on a Gun Offense Sentenced to Over 5 Years’ Imprisonment

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa

A man who possessed a firearm as a felon was sentenced on November 3, 2021, to more than 5 years in federal prison.

Joel Dawdy, age 31, from Sioux City, Iowa, received the prison term after a December 21, 2020, guilty plea to being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Evidence at his change of plea, detention, and sentencing hearings revealed that on January 28, 2020, officers attempted to stop a vehicle in which Dawdy was a passenger.  Dawdy exited the car, ran, and during the pursuit jettisoned a loaded gun.  After pleading guilty to his crime, he violated the conditions of his supervised release, absconded from supervision, and had to be found and arrested by the United States Marshal Service.    

Dawdy was sentenced in Sioux City by United States District Court Chief Judge Leonard T. Strand.  Dawdy was sentenced to 63 months’ imprisonment.  He must also serve a 3-year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.

Dawdy is being held in the United States Marshal’s custody until he can be transported to a federal prison.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN). PSN is 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 Sioux City, Iowa Police Department, the United States Marshals Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Forde Fairchild. 

Court file information at

The case file number is 20-CR-4030.

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Updated November 8, 2021

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses