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Press Release

Omaha Man on Parole for Murder Sentenced to 270 Months for Attempted Home Invasion Robbery

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

United States Attorney Jan Sharp announced that Rufus E. Dennis, 43, of Omaha, Nebraska, was sentenced today in federal court in Omaha for Attempted Interference with Interstate Commerce by way of Robbery; possessing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence; and felon in possession of a firearm.  Dennis has a prior murder conviction for which he was out on parole when he committed the robbery and firearm offenses.

Chief United States District Judge Robert F. Rossiter, Jr. sentenced Dennis to a term of 270 months of imprisonment.  There is no parole in the federal system.  After completing his term of imprisonment, Dennis will begin a 5-year term of supervised release.  Chief Judge Rossiter varied upward from the recommended federal sentence in this case and supported his decision to do so based on the fact that Dennis intended to murder victims during a planned home invasion robbery and was on parole for second degree murder at the time of the instant offenses.  The FBI obtained recordings of Dennis describing in detail his plans for the home invasion.  Dennis expressed in the recordings that he was not going to be caught or identified and would leave no witnesses behind.

The evidence at trial showed that Dennis “cased” a family’s home on four separate occasions in January, 2020 while he was gathering information about the home and the family’s movements.  A single mother of two young children lived in the home. Dennis planned to do physical harm to that woman in the presence of her elderly mother once he gained entry to the residence.   Dennis ultimately planned to shoot anyone who saw his face during the home invasion.  In furtherance of that plan, Dennis unwittingly attempted to buy handguns from an undercover officer and recruited a confidential informant with the FBI to act as his lookout and getaway driver for the home invasion. 

On the morning of the planned home invasion, agents, investigators, and officers with the Greater Omaha Safe Streets Task Force executed search and arrest warrants at Dennis’s residence and recovered a stolen firearm with Dennis’s DNA on it.  Dennis hoped to trade the rifle for a handgun with the undercover officer prior to invading the home.

United States Attorney Jan Sharp stated, “Omaha is a better place today following the arrest and conviction of Rufus Dennis.  We cannot create a better community when armed predators roam our streets.  The lengthy sentenced imposed on Mr. Dennis represents a win for the citizens of Omaha.” 

Special Agent in Charge Eugene Kowel said, “The FBI’s Greater Omaha Safe Streets Task Force arrested Rufus Dennis before he carried out his plan to terrorize a single mother, her two toddler children and their elderly grandmother.  At the time of his arrest, Dennis was one of the Omaha Police Department’s most wanted individuals.  With today’s sentencing, our community will no longer have to worry about this violent perpetrator hurting or terrorizing anyone else for a very long time.”

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bellevue Police Department, and the Omaha Police Department.

Updated April 8, 2022

Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime