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Press Release

Rockford Man Sentenced To 10 Years In Federal Prison On Gun Charge

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

ROCKFORD — A Rockford, Ill. man was sentenced yesterday in federal court before U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Kapala to 10 years in prison without parole, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release, for illegally possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. NICHOLAS STENSON, 29, was convicted on October 3, 2012, after a jury trial in Rockford.

According to the indictment and evidence at trial, on July 10, 2011, shortly after 2:00 am, members of the Rockford Police Department's M3 Unit observed Stenson on Rock Street standing next to a green Pontiac. When officers parked their squad car near the Pontiac and activated the emergency lights, Stenson ran to the back of the Pontiac, reached into his waistband and threw a gun underneath the Pontiac. Officers recovered the gun thrown by Stenson - a black Colt .45 handgun loaded with six rounds of Blazer .45 caliber ammunition.

Stenson was originally charged in state court and was transferred to federal court where he was charged under tough federal firearms laws as part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods program. Project Safe Neighborhoods is an intensive, cooperative effort between local, state, and federal law enforcement to attack gun crimes. The cornerstone of the program is that every defendant committing an offense involving a gun will be reviewed for possible federal prosecution in order to obtain the harshest penalties for the worst offenders. Additional information about Project Safe Neighborhoods may be found at

The sentencing was announced by Gary S. Shapiro, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; W. Larry Ford, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives; Joseph Bruscato, Winnebago County State's Attorney; and Chet Epperson, Chief of the Rockford Police Department.

The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Scott R. Paccagnini and Monica V. Mallory.

Updated July 23, 2015