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Justice News

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

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Armed Career Criminal From Corrales Sentenced to Fifteen Years in Prison for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm

ALBUQUERQUE – Walter Lee Deiter, 55, of Corrales, N.M., was sentenced this morning to 15 years in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release for being a felon in possession of a firearm, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Steven C. Yarbrough, 2nd Judicial District Attorney Kari E. Brandenburg, Special Agent in Charge Bernard J. Zapor of the Phoenix Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and Chief Allen Banks of the Albuquerque Police Department.

Acting U.S. Attorney Steven C. Yarbrough said that Deiter was prosecuted as part of a federal anti-violence initiative that targets “the worst of the worst” offenders for federal prosecution.  Under this anti-violence initiative, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and federal law enforcement agencies work with New Mexico’s District Attorneys and state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to target violent or repeat offenders for federal prosecution with the goal of removing repeat offenders from communities in New Mexico for as long as possible.

“Firearms in the hands of convicted felons are a serious threat to public safety.  A big thanks to the law enforcement community and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for making our communities safer and putting Walter Deiter where he belongs,” Said 2nd Judicial District Attorney Kari E. Brandenburg.

Deiter was indicted in March 2010, and charged with unlawfully possessing a firearm and ammunition on Nov. 12, 2009, in Bernalillo County, N.M.  At the time, Deiter was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because he previously had been convicted of 13 felony offenses, including burglary, grand theft, drug trafficking and bank robbery offenses in Florida; a drug trafficking offense in Oklahoma; and being a felon in possession of a firearm in federal court in New Mexico.  Deiter was on supervised release after having served a 46-month prison sentence for his first federal conviction when he was arrested in this case.

A federal jury convicted Deiter in Aug. 2012, after a four-day trial.  According to the evidence at trial, when Albuquerque Police Department officers responded to a domestic violence call to 911 made by Deiter’s wife shortly after midnight on Nov. 12, 2009, they observed a man, later identified as Deiter, and a woman standing outside in the cold.  When Deiter and the woman saw the officers approaching, they separated and began walking in opposite directions.  Although the officers attempted to speak to Deiter, he continued to walk away from them.  Moments later, an officer observed Deiter, who was standing on the second floor balcony of a nearby apartment complex, bend down and place something on the balcony floor.  Deiter then complied with the officers’ orders to come down from the balcony.  When an officer started towards the apartment complex to check the balcony, Deiter became visibly nervous and bolted away from the officers.  After Deiter was apprehended, an officer went up to the balcony and found a revolver in a holster on the balcony floor.  Deiter’s DNA subsequently was found on both the revolver and the holster.

Special Agent in Charge Bernard J. Zapor of the Phoenix Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said, “Today’s sentencing of Deiter should serve as a harsh reminder to habitual criminals that gun crime will equal hard time.  ATF will not tolerate the illegal possession of firearms by prohibited persons.  I want to commend Acting U.S. Attorney Steven Yarbrough and Chief Allen Banks of the Albuquerque Police Department for their partnership and support.”

“The Albuquerque Police Department would like to thank the U.S. Attorney and his dedicated staff for the successful prosecution of this career criminal,” said Chief Allen Banks of the Albuquerque Police Department.  “Today’s sentencing sends a clear message to habitual criminals that local law enforcement is working closely with federal prosecutors will find a way to hold them accountable for their crimes in our community.  The sentence handed down today is also a victory for victims of domestic violence everywhere, showing that their aggressors will face significant jail time when they commit their crime while being a prohibited possessor of a firearm.”

The case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Albuquerque Police Department, with assistance from the 2nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lynn W.Y. Wang and Kimberly A. Brawley.

Updated January 26, 2015