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Press Release

Roane County man sentenced to federal prison for gun charge

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of West Virginia
Federal jury found defendant guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A Roane County man was sentenced today to two years in federal prison for a gun crime, announced United States Attorney Carol Casto. William Leon Rhodes, 50, of Gandeeville, was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm by a federal jury in January following a one-and-a-half-day jury trial. Rhodes was also sentenced to an additional eight months in federal prison for a violation of his supervised release. The sentences will be served consecutively.

During the 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.

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 and imposed the sentence.

This case was prosecuted as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods. Project Safe Neighborhoods is a nationwide commitment to reduce gun crime in the United States by networking existing local programs targeting gun crime.

Updated April 12, 2017

Project Safe Neighborhoods