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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of West Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 12, 2017

Federal jury finds Roane County man guilty of gun crime

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A federal jury sitting in Charleston returned a guilty verdict yesterday in the trial of a Roane County man for being a felon in possession of a firearm, announced United States Attorney Carol Casto. William Leon Rhodes, 50, of Gandeeville, was convicted following a one-and-a-half-day jury trial.

Witnesses for the United States testified that on June 17, 2016, Rhodes gave consent to law enforcement to search his residence. Officers discovered a loaded Heritage .22 caliber revolver under the pillow in Rhodes’ bedroom. Officers additionally discovered a box for the gun on the night stand in the bedroom and a box of .22 caliber ammunition in the living room. The evidence showed that in an interview with law enforcement after his arrest, Rhodes admitted that he knew the gun was in his bedroom and he referred to the firearm as “my pistol.”

Rhodes was prohibited from possessing any firearm under federal law because of a 1990 conviction for grand larceny in Jackson County Circuit Court and a 2012 conviction for being a felon in possession of a firearm in the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia. Additionally, Rhodes was on federal supervised release at the time he possessed the Heritage revolver.

Rhodes faces up to 10 years in federal prison when he is sentenced on April 12, 2017.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the West Virginia State Police, and the Roane County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys Meredith George Thomas and R. Gregory McVey are in charge of the prosecution and tried the case before a federal jury. United States District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr., presided over the trial.

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Updated January 12, 2017