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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, June 5, 2017

Rome Man Sentenced for Possession of Ammunition by a Convicted Felon in Connection with Drive-by Shooting in Syracuse

Defendant Admitted That He Had Committed Murder After Acquittal in State Homicide Prosecution

NEW YORK – Alfred Laquann “Merc” Thomas, 32, of Rome, New York, was sentenced today to serve 115 months in prison for his possession of ammunition as a convicted felon in connection with an August 2012 drive by-shooting in Syracuse, New York, announced United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian and Special Agent in Charge Vadim D. Thomas, FBI Albany Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The defendant was also sentenced to serve three years of supervised release following his term of imprisonment.

After being acquitted on an unrelated September 2014 murder in Syracuse, Thomas admitted on Facebook that he had actually committed that murder. He repeated those admissions to federal agents. In sentencing the defendant today, United States District Judge Brenda Sannes noted Alfred Thomas’ long criminal record of offenses involving the use of violence including his admissions about that murder.

"The lengthy sentence reflects Thomas’s long record of violent crime including his admissions that he had killed someone after being acquitted in a state homicide prosecution. This successful prosecution is the result of outstanding collaboration and dogged persistence to bring him to justice by Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Southwick, FBI, ATF, and Syracuse Police with assistance from the Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office,” said United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian.

“People like Mr. Thomas terrorize and destroy our communities through violence,” Special Agent in Charge Vadim D. Thomas. “Today’s sentencing is the result of countless hours of hard work and dedication, and the FBI, together with our law enforcement partners, will continue to investigate individuals who jeopardize the safety of our communities through gun violence.”

December 23, 2016, Alfred Thomas pled guilty in Federal Court to being a convicted felon in possession of two 12-gauge shotgun shells. Thomas possessed the shells in his pants pocket after an August 16, 2012 drive-by shooting at 115 West Bissell Street, Syracuse. Several people, including an infant, were in the house at the time. Two expended 12-gauge shotgun shells were found in the rear seat of the car he had been driving, and the same caliber ammunition was used during the shooting. In addition, 911 callers identified Thomas and his car when they called to report the shooting. After learning about the defendant’s Facebook admissions, FBI and ATF Agents in Syracuse revisited the 2012 West Bissell Street drive-by shooting in light of federal law violations, which led to the current case in United States District Court.

This case was investigated by The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), The United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) and the Syracuse Police Department, and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard R. Southwick with assistance from the Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office.

Topic(s): 
Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime
Updated June 6, 2017