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Press Release

Previously Convicted Felon From Essex County, New Jersey, Admits Illegally Possessing Firearm

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

NEWARK, N.J. – A Newark man admitted today that he possessed a firearm as a previously convicted felon, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Richard D. Williams, 40, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge John Michael Vazquez in Newark federal court to an indictment charging him with one count of possession of a firearm as a previously convicted felon.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

On Feb. 18, 2017, law enforcement officers spotted a white Infiniti car that matched the make, model, color and year of a car that had previously been reported stolen. When police ran the license plate on the vehicle, they determined it belonged to a different car, suggesting that the license plate on the Infiniti had been switched. Police officers attempted to stop the vehicle, but it took off at a high rate of speed. The police pursued the car in a high-speed chase through Newark and into East Orange, New Jersey. Several other police cars and a Newark police department helicopter joined the pursuit.

The police chased the car for 10 minutes until it was traveling east on South Orange Avenue near Bergen Street in East Orange, New Jersey. The car crossed into oncoming traffic and collided head on with an unmarked Newark police department vehicle. The crash caused both the Infiniti and Newark police vehicle to catch fire. The three Newark police officers inside the police vehicle all suffered injuries but exited their vehicle safely.

Williams got out of the Infiniti and tried to flee, but was quickly caught and detained by a Newark police officer until a N.J. State Police trooper joined him. Williams was found to have a black .38-caliber revolver, loaded with four bullets, in his waistband. Williams had at least one prior felony conviction in federal court.

The felon in possession of a firearm charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 29, 2019.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited task force officers of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the direction Special Agent in Charge John B. Devito, with the investigation. He also thanked officers of the Newark Police Department, under the direction of Public Safety Director Anthony F. Ambrose, for their assistance.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jason S. Gould and Catherine R. Murphy of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.

Defense counsel: Michael Pedicini Esq., Chatham, New Jersey

Updated September 18, 2018

Firearms Offenses
Press Release Number: 18-308