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Press Release

Des Moines Man Sentenced to Prison for Firearms Offense

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Iowa

Roman Deon Hellems, Jr. sentenced to 96 months for felon in possession of a firearm

DES MOINES, Iowa – On August 24, 2018, Roman Deon Hellems, Jr., age 23, of Des Moines, appeared before United States District Court Judge Stephanie M. Rose and was sentenced to 96 months in prison for a felon in possession of a firearm charge announced United States Attorney Marc Krickbaum. Hellems was ordered to serve three years of supervised release to follow his prison term.

According to the government’s sentencing memorandum, Hellems, a prior drug felon, was out of custody, on bond, for multiple counts of weapons possession, burglary, and criminal gang participation when members of the Des Moines Police Department encountered him during an October 7, 2017, traffic stop. Hellems was found in possession of a loaded and stolen Glock 26 9mm handgun. When law enforcement attempted to arrest Hellems, he fought the officers. Ultimately, it took three officers, two Taser deployments, and pepper spray to detain him. During the struggle with Hellems, the magazine to an officer’s firearm was dislodged and was later found where Hellems had assaulted him.

When pronouncing judgment, the District Court commended the Des Moines Police Officers for their professionalism and the restraint the officers demonstrated in safely arresting Hellems, despite his efforts to assault them. “The Des Moines Police Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation have been great partners in addressing violent crime in the Southern District of Iowa,” stated United States Attorney Krickbaum. “The Defendant and other felons who carry guns should understand: if you illegally possess a gun on the streets of Des Moines you will face real consequences and real punishment, including significant prison time.”

This investigation was conducted by the Des Moines Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.


Rachel J. Scherle

Updated August 24, 2018

Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods