Two newly indicted, nine previous indictments unsealed for crimes including illegal firearms possession
Gun crime means hard time in federal prison
SAVANNAH, GA: Six defendants are among those facing federal charges including illegal possession of firearms after separate indictments by a grand jury in the Southern District of Georgia, while recent actions in U.S. District Court include guilty pleas and criminal sentences related to illegal gun possession.
The indicted cases are being investigated as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods in collaboration with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the FBI, to reduce violent crime with measures that include targeting convicted felons who illegally carry guns.
“The law specifically prohibits previously convicted felons from carrying guns – and it’s abundantly clear that reducing violent crime requires keeping gun-carrying criminals off our streets,” said David H. Estes, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. “We commend our law enforcement partners for their continued commitment to keeping our communities safe.”
In the past four years, more than 790 defendants have been federally charged in the Southern District of Georgia for illegal firearms offenses – most often for possessing a firearm after conviction for a previous felony. Recent federal legislation increases the maximum penalty for illegal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon to 15 years, up from 10, for those found in possession after June 25, 2022.
Defendants named in federal indictments from the November 2022 term of the U.S. District Court grand jury include:
- Shannan Barnwell, 24, of Savannah, charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon; Interference with Interstate Commerce by Robbery; and Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence. Barnwell is charged in connection with the Sept. 27 armed robbery of a vendor restocking a South State Bank automatic teller machine.
- Jacob Matthew Miller, 32, of Waynesboro, Ga., charged with Possession of a Firearm by Convicted Felon.
Nine additional defendants were indicted under seal in October, with those indictments recently unsealed following initial court appearances:
- Robert Richard Hatten, 47, of Oak Park, Ga., charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute, and to Distribute, 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine; Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime; and Possession of a Firearm with an Obliterated Serial Number;
- Christopher Nakia Jones, 47, of Swainsboro, Ga., charged with three counts of Distribution of Methamphetamine, and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon;
- Ephelius Artavis Brinson Jr., 28, of Hephzibah, Ga., charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon; and Possession of Marijuana;
- Devonte Malik Jorame, 25, of Aiken, S.C., charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, and Possession of Marijuana.
- Trevor Elijah Walker, 24, of Augusta, charged with two counts of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon;
- Taipai La’Don Brewer, 43, of Augusta, charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon;
- Titus Nathaniel Travis, 23, of Augusta, charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon;
- Diemond Dajion Wimberly, 25, of Augusta, charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon; and,
- Deontre Hubert, 28, of Augusta, charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.
Criminal indictments contain only charges; defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Additional defendants recently have been adjudicated on federal charges that include illegal firearms possession:
- Thomas Kevin Robinson, 52, of Savannah, was sentenced to 120 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. Savannah Police responding to a shoplifting call in April 2021 chased Robinson in his vehicle and on foot, and found a pistol that he had dropped while running. Robinson has an extensive criminal history with at least seven prior felony convictions.
- Terry Kennard Isaacs, 37, of Beaufort, S.C., was sentenced to 108 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to Possession of a Stolen Firearm. Shortly after midnight on June 17, 2021, Pooler Police officers found Isaacs asleep inside a customer’s vehicle parked at a repair business, and arrested him after finding a pistol and drugs in his possession. Isaacs has multiple prior felony convictions involving firearms and violence.
- Johnathon Emanuel McGahee, 24, of Thomson, Ga., was sentenced to 100 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release and fined $2,000 after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. McGahee crashed his vehicle while fleeing Georgia State Patrol troopers attempting a traffic stop on Jan. 1, 2021, and ran into woods where he was captured. Troopers found drugs and a loaded pistol with a high-capacity magazine in McGahee’s car. McGahee is a member of the Gangster Disciples criminal street gang with a violent criminal history.
- Carlos Middleton, 21, of Savannah, was sentenced to 97 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to Interference with Commerce by Robbery. Middleton admitted brandishing a firearm Jan. 20, 2022, when he threatened and robbed employees of a Chatham County video game store. The plea subjects Middleton to a statutory sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
- Rashejon B. Curry, 28, of Pooler, Ga., was sentenced to 96 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. Chatham County Police officers arrested Curry following a report of an assault at a motel room, later finding him carrying a loaded pistol. Curry has a violent criminal history including convictions for robbery and gun possession.
- Daquan Dwayne Young, 27, of Savannah, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. Savannah Police officers arrested Young after a March 2022 traffic stop when they found a pistol in his waistband.
- Ra’ann Michell Coleman, 49, of Eastman, Ga., awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to two counts of False Statement During the Purchase of a Firearm, a charge often referred to as “lying and buying.” In her plea agreement, Coleman admitted that when she purchased a Taurus .380 pistol on Oct. 26, 2020, and a Bersa .380 pistol on Dec. 8, 2020, she lied about being the actual purchaser of the guns when she in fact was buying the firearms on behalf of someone else.
Agencies investigating these cases include the ATF, the FBI, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Savannah Police Department, the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, and the Georgia State Patrol.
The cases are being prosecuted for the United States by the Southern District of Georgia U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Under federal law, it is illegal for an individual to possess a firearm if he or she falls into one of nine prohibited categories including being a felon; illegal alien; or unlawful user of a controlled substance. Further, it is unlawful to possess a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense or violent crime. It is also illegal to purchase – or even to attempt to purchase – firearms if the buyer is a prohibited person or illegally purchasing a firearm on behalf of others. Lying on ATF Form 4473, which is used to lawfully purchase a firearm, also is a federal offense.
For more information from the ATF on the lawful purchasing of firearms, please see: https://www.atf.gov/qa-category/atf-form-4473
For any questions, please contact Barry Paschal at the U.S. Attorney’s Office at (912) 652-4422.