Project Guardian: Two Men Appear in Federal Court on Gun Charges
Two felons appeared in federal court this week for gun crimes, according to United States Attorney Mike Stuart.
Shad Michael Knight, 27, of Parkersburg, was sentenced to 60 months in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Knight’s prison sentence will begin following the completion of a sentence that he currently is serving through Wood County Circuit Court, and will be followed by three years of supervised release. Knight previously admitted that on October 21, 2019, he was driving a blue Chevrolet Cruze when it was pulled over in the 1000 block of 29th Street in Parkersburg due to a busted tail light and Knight having a suspended driver’s license. During the traffic stop, a Parkersburg Police Department K-9 responded to the scene and provided a positive indication for the presence of controlled substances within the vehicle. The vehicle was then searched, and officers located a backpack behind the driver’s seat containing a 9mm pistol, two loaded magazines, two boxes of 9mm ammunition, several small plastic bags, and a small amount of methamphetamine. Knight admitted that the firearm was within his possession, that he had placed the firearm in the backpack prior to the traffic stop, and that he knew that he was not permitted to possess firearms under federal law. Knight had previously been convicted of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver in Wood County Circuit Court, and was still on parole for that offense when this incident occurred. The Parkersburg Narcotics Task Force, the Parkersburg Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives conducted the investigation. United States District Judge Irene C. Berger imposed the sentence. Assistant United States Attorney Jeremy B. Wolfe handled the prosecution.
Michael LeRose, 32, of Nitro, pled guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. LeRose admitted that on June 9, 2020, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant on his residence. Inside they recovered a .22 caliber rifle, a 5.56 mm caliber semi-automatic rifle, two 9mm handguns, two AM-15 rifle receivers, and a full auto conversion kit for a semi-automatic rifle. They also recovered assorted ammunition, a homemade silencer, marijuana and psychedelic mushrooms. A tactical vest also was found in a separate search of his car. LeRose acknowledged that his addiction to drugs prohibited him from possessing firearms, as he was a user of multiple illegal narcotics. He faces up to 10 years in prison when sentenced on October 27, 2020. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) conducted the investigation. Senior United States District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr. presided over the plea hearing. Assistant United States Attorney L. Alexander Hamner is handling the prosecution.
These cases are part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. The United States Attorney’s Office has prosecuted these cases with support from the Project Guardian partners noted above. For more information about Project Guardian, please see: https://www.justice.gov/projectguardian.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia. Related court documents and information can be found on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:20-cr-00007 (Knight) and Case No. 2:20-cr-00097 (LeRose).