Skip to main content
Press Release

Springfield, Massachusetts Man Sentenced for Possessing Homicide Weapon and Ammunition in Violation of Federal Law

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

The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that Justin Orwat, 51, of Springfield, Massachusetts, was sentenced today in federal court to a prison term of 90 months upon his conviction for illegally possessing the .45 caliber handgun and ammunition that he used to kill Amanda Sanderson and Steven Lovely on October 27, 2017, in Townshend, Vermont.  United States District Judge William K. Sessions III specified the 90-month federal sentence is to be served consecutively to the 179- to 180-month sentence imposed on December 10, 2021, in Windham Superior Court upon Orwat’s state conviction for manslaughter.  Court papers indicate that Orwat will serve the state sentence and then the federal sentence.  Together, the state and federal sentences combine for a prison sentence of twenty-two and a half years.  At the conclusion of the federal sentence, Orwat will be subject to three years of federal supervised release.  

United States Attorney Nikolas P. Kerest stated, “Today’s sentencing brings to a close the prosecution of Justin Orwat for the homicide of Amanda Sanderson and Steven Lovely.  Based on the imposition of consecutive state and federal sentences, Justin Orwat will be removed from society until he is an old man.  I commend the work of the Windham County State’s Attorney for leading this prosecution and am glad that we could assist our state partners in bringing Orwat to justice.  Working collaboratively with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners to address violent crime, and particularly gun violence, in our community is a top priority for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.”

Windham County State’s Attorney Tracy Kelly Shriver stated, “The State of Vermont endeavored to obtain the best possible outcome on behalf of the victims of this crime.  With the assistance of the Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont, we negotiated a resolution in which the defendant accepted responsibility for his actions and received a sentence commensurate with the seriousness of his offenses.”

The crimes were investigated by the Vermont State Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.  

Orwat was represented by Dan Sedon, Esq., of Chelsea, Vermont.  Deputy State’s Attorney Steven Brown prosecuted the homicide in Windham Superior Court.  Assistant United States Attorney Michael Drescher prosecuted the federal offense.  

This case was prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime.  Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.  As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime

Updated February 7, 2022

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime