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Press Release

Convicted Felon Pleads Guilty to Gun Charge in Federal Court

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

Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Beth Drake stated today that Bobby Eric Spates, age 26, of Florence, pled guilty in federal court in Florence to Felon in Possession of a Firearm.  United States District Judge Bryan Harwell, of Florence, accepted the plea and will impose sentence after he has reviewed the presentence report which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.

The evidence presented at the guilty plea hearing established that on March 31, 2017, members of the Florence Police Department (FPD) responded to a 911 call regarding a pedestrian pointing a gun at a motorist on West Evans Street in Florence.  Based on the description of the armed pedestrian received from the motorist, FPD made contact with the pedestrian, identified as Spates, detained him in handcuffs, and asked Spates if he had any weapons on him.  Spates responded he had a gun in his pants pocket.  The officer proceeded to pat-down Spates and felt what appeared to him to be a gun in Spates’ right front pants pocket.  The officer then removed a loaded Phoenix Arms .22 caliber pistol.  The officer advised Spates of his Miranda warnings and advised Spates he was under arrest.  The officer next secured a box of .22 caliber ammunition from the same pocket where the firearm was located.  Prior to his possession of the firearm, Spates had been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.  

Ms. Drake stated the defendant faces a maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment. The case was investigated by the Florence Police Department and the ATF.  Assistant United States Attorney Lauren Hummel of the Florence office handled the case.



Lance Crick (864) 282-2105

Updated November 22, 2017

Firearms Offenses