United States Attorney Richard W. Moore of the Southern District of Alabama announced that Anthony Ellis, a 34 year old resident of Selma, Alabama was sentenced to 100 months of incarceration for possession of a .38 caliber Rohm pistol after being convicted of a felony.
On January 28, 2019, Ellis was found guilty after a jury trial in Selma, Alabama being a felon in possession of a firearm. The evidence adduced at trial showed that on December 16, 2017, Selma police officers were on special patrol in an area of the city where violent crimes frequently occurred. They approached the intersection of The Small Street Inn and L.L. Anderson Avenue. They observed Anthony Jerome Ellis and a relative standing in front of a silver Ford Taurus parked at that location. When they observed the officers approach them, they moved to the passenger side of the vehicle and both bent down as if they were hiding something or placing something under the vehicle. Anthony Ellis was in the area of the back passenger door and his relative was at the back passenger quarter panel or behind the back tire.
The Officers approached with firearms drawn and instructed them to show their hands. Anthony Ellis moved to the front of the vehicle and his relative moved to the back. Both Ellis and his relative were detained for further investigation. Both were patted down for officer safety. The officers looked under the car. They discovered a loaded RG .38 caliber revolver containing three live rounds by the back passenger door in front of the tire, where Anthony Ellis was observed stooping behind the vehicle as the officers approached. That gun is more specifically described as a Rohm .38 caliber revolver. Where his relative stooped behind the vehicle, Officers found a Smith &Wesson .40 caliber pistol. Both guns were collected as evidence and Ellis and his relative were transported to the police department for questioning after advice of rights. A background investigation of Ellis showed that he had been convicted of a felony and was prohibited from possessing a firearm. He was charged accordingly. His relative was not a felon and was not charged with a federal crime.
While Ellis awaited trial, he was housed in the Monroe County, Alabama jail. While there, he sought the help and advice of an inmate who had been convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Ellis told this inmate the facts of his case and asked the inmate what he thought of Ellis’ chances of “beating” the case. Ellis also told the inmate that “the cops didn’t actually see” [him] toss the gun under the car.” Ellis further stated that he was going to “tell the cops [he] bent down to pick up a lighter or to tie his shoe.” Ellis bragged that he was going to have his trial in Selma, “because everybody up there knows [him] and they won’t convict [him] in Selma.”
While only one felony conviction was made know to the jury during trial, Ellis had five felony convictions at the time he possessed the .38 caliber Rohm pistol. They include, Assault First Degree, on November 13, 2008, in the Circuit Court of Dallas County, Alabama; Escape Second Degree, on July 30, 2007, in the Circuit Court of Dallas County, Alabama; Certain Persons Forbidden to Carry a Firearm, on June 6, 2017, in the Dallas County, Alabama, District Court; Assault Second Degree, on October 29, 2014, in the Dallas County, Alabama, Circuit Court; and Shooting into an Occupied Vehicle, on June 9, 2011, in the Dallas County, Alabama, Circuit Court.
Officers of the Selma, Alabama Police Department along with special agents of the ATF investigated the case and brought it to the U. S. Attorney's Office for prosecution. The prosecutor assigned to the case is Assistant United States Attorney, Gina S. Vann.