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Press Release

Previously Convicted Felon from Essex County Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for Illegally Possessing Firearm

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

NEWARK, N.J. – A Newark man was sentenced today to 120 months in prison for possessing a firearm as a previously convicted felon, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Richard D. Williams, 41, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge John Michael Vazquez to an indictment charging him with one count of possession of a firearm as a previously convicted felon. Judge Vazquez imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.

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.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Vazquez sentenced William to three years of supervised release.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited task force officers of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Charlie J. Patterson, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing. 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.

Updated October 7, 2019

Firearms Offenses
Press Release Number: 19-302