Feds Charge Eight in Owensboro Surge Targeting Community Violence
OWENSBORO, Ky. – United States Attorney Russell M. Coleman announced in an Owensboro press conference that a federal grand jury has returned eight felony indictments against individuals charging multiple counts including firearms violations, and the possession and distribution of drugs.
The charges are part of an ongoing promise from the feds to be better partners outside of the Louisville region, and are in direct response to escalating violence in the Owensboro region. According to Owensboro Police Department statistics from January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2018, patrol officers responded to 126 shots fired calls.
“As a guy who spent his early years in Thruston out near Yellow Creek, , I know what a wonderful community this is; federal law enforcement is committed to being active partners in helping to protect it,” said U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman. “These indictments are a result of the feds teaming with the Owensboro Police Department and Sheriff Cain to better protect Daviess County families from narcotics trafficking and armed felons. More to come.”
U.S. Attorney Coleman was joined in the announcement by Owensboro Police Department Chief Arthur Ealum, and ATF ASAC L.C. Cheeks, Jr. These charges were developed through partnerships with multiple law enforcement agencies.
“ATF strives to be ‘no better partner’ to law enforcement agencies,” stated ATF Assistant Special Agent in Charge L.C. Cheeks Jr., of the Louisville Field Division. “During the past months, this partnership investigated illegal sources of crime guns and persons who illegally possessed or used guns to commit violent crimes in the Owensboro area. Together, we aggressively pursued ‘traffickers and trigger pullers,’ making use of crime gun intelligence to disrupt the shooting cycle. These efforts support the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods in making our communities safer for everyone.”
“The Owensboro Police Department is committed to reducing gun violence in our community,” said Owensboro Police Department Chief Arthur Ealum. “We are pleased to partner with the ATF and the office of United States Attorney Russell M. Coleman to help make our commitment a reality. The efforts here today should serve as a warning to all those who wish to prey on the vulnerable members of our community by trafficking in narcotics, unlawfully possessing a firearm or otherwise committing acts of violence in this community.
The Owensboro Police Department will work tirelessly with our local, state and federal partners to identify, charge and prosecute those offenders who commit serious offenses while in possession of firearms,” Ealum continued. “It is our hope that the seriousness and the certainty of punishment will serve as a deterrent to those who wish to engage in disruptive criminal behavior in this community.”
The eight defendants charged in this surge include:
- Joseph L. Howell, age 32, of Owensboro, Kentucky, who is charged in a three count indictment with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine; use of/carrying a Taurus, model 709 Slim, 9 millimeter semiautomatic pistol during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime; and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Howell was previously convicted of first degree trafficking in methamphetamine in 2015, and convicted of manufacturing methamphetamine and tampering with physical evidence (two counts), each a felony in 2012.
- Larry Andrew Barnett, age 31, of Owensboro, Kentucky, who is charged in a one count indictment of being a felon in possession of a firearm, a Marlin, Model T95, .22LR semiautomatic rifle. Barnett was previously convicted of Wanton Endangerment in the first degree, a felony, in 2018.
- Jeremy L. Morrow, age 27, of Owensboro, Kentucky, who is charged in a one count indictment of being a felon in possession of a firearm, a Hi-Point, Model C9, 9 millimeter semiautomatic pistol. Morrow was previously convicted of Second-Degree Robbery, a felony, in 2011.
- Christen Shane Stewart, age 30, of Owensboro, Kentucky, who is charged in a one count indictment of being a felon in possession of a firearm, a Smith & Wesson, Model Bodyguard 380, .380 caliber semiautomatic pistol. Stewart was previously convicted of Second-Degree Robbery, a felony, in 2010.
- Seth Aaron Fenwick, age 28, of Owensboro, Kentucky, who is charged in a one count indictment of being a felon in possession of a firearm, a Rohm, model RG10, .22 caliber revolver, bearing an obliterated serial number. Fenwick was previously convicted of Third-Degree Burglary and Theft by Unlawful Taking/Automobile, felonies, in 2009.
- Jonathan Robert Miller, age 24, of Owensboro, Kentucky, is charged in a one count indictment of being a felon in possession of a firearm, a Kimber, model Micro 9, 9 millimeter semiautomatic pistol. Miller was previously convicted of First Degree Wanton Endangerment, a felony, in 2017.
- Carl Dikeith Warren, age 33, of Owensboro, Kentucky, who is charged in a one count indictment of being a felon in possession of a firearm, an Israeli Weapons Industries, Inc., model Baby Desert Eagle II, Compact Polymer 9 millimeter semiautomatic pistol bearing an obliterated serial number. Warren was previously convicted of Wanton Endangerment, First-Degree, a felony, in 2008.
- Jeremy V. Denson, age 27, of Owensboro, Kentucky, is charged in a one count indictment of being a felon in possession of a firearm, a Taurus, model PT111 Millennium, 9 millimeter semiautomatic pistol. Denson was previously convicted of trafficking marijuana, a felony, in 2016.
If convicted at trial, the maximum sentence for unlawfully possessing a firearm is no more than ten years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release. If that firearm is possessed or used in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, a defendant faces a mandatory minimum five years in prison in addition to the sentence received for the underlying charges, and could receive up to life in prison.
These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Seth Hancock, Leigh Ann Dycus and Madison Sewell, and were investigated by the Owensboro Police Department, Daviess County Sheriff’s Office, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).
The U.S. Attorney’s Office is partnering with federal, state, and local law enforcement to specifically identify criminals responsible for significant violent crime in the Western District of Kentucky. A centerpiece of this effort is Project Safe Neighborhoods, a program that brings together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make neighborhoods safer for everyone. Today’s announced indictments are part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative in the Western District of Kentucky.
The indictment of a person by a Grand Jury is an accusation only and that person is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.