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Press Release

Convicted Felon Sentenced to 44 Months in Federal Prison

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, SC, was sentenced in federal court in Florence, South Carolina, for Felon in Possession of a Firearm.  United States District Judge Bryan Harwell, of Florence, sentenced Spates to 44 months in federal prison with 3 years of supervised release to follow.  

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.  

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.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.  Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made turning the tide of rising violent crime in America a top priority.  In October 2017, as part of a series of actions to address this crime trend, Attorney General Sessions announced the reinvigoration of PSN and directed all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to develop a district crime reduction strategy that incorporates the lessons learned since PSN launched in 2001. 



Lance Crick (864) 282-2105

Updated March 22, 2018

Firearms Offenses