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Press Release

Columbia Man Pleads Guilty to Possession of a Firearm

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

Contact Person: William K. Witherspoon (803) 929-3000

Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Beth Drake stated today that Johnny Willie Jones, age 30, of Columbia, South Carolina has entered a guilty plea in federal court in Columbia to felon in possession of a firearm, a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). United States District Judge Mary Geiger Lewis of Columbia accepted the guilty plea and will impose sentence after she has reviewed the presentence report that will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.

Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that on January 31, 2016, Jones was involved in a verbal altercation at a halfway house on Lady Street. Under the rules of the halfway house, females are not allowed in the males’ rooms.  The manager of the home confronted Jones about having a female in his room.  A verbal altercation turned physical between Jones, the manager, and her daughter.  After it became physical, Jones stated, “I got something for you” and went up to his room and retrieved a sawed-off shotgun, went back downstairs, and shot in the direction of the two females.  Both females were unharmed.  Jones then left the halfway house after the police were called.  The police found the shotgun in a lot behind the house.  Jones fled the scene and was later arrested in Arizona.  Jones had previously been convicted of kidnapping and two (2) counts of armed robbery and, therefore, was prohibited from possessing a firearm.

Ms. Drake stated the maximum penalty for a felon in possession of a firearm in this case is imprisonment for 10 years and a fine of $250,000.

The case was investigated by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Columbia Police Department.  Assistant United States Attorney William K. Witherspoon of the Columbia office is prosecuting the case.

This case was prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state and local Project CeaseFire initiative, which aggressively prosecutes firearm cases.


Updated March 29, 2017

Firearms Offenses