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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Michigan

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Muskegon Man Sentenced To Five-And-A-Half Years In Federal Prison For Firearms Offense

          GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN – Gerald Fitzpatrick Odneal II, also known as "PJ," of Muskegon, Michigan was sentenced to 66 months (five-and-a-half years) in federal prison for possessing firearms as a convicted felon, Acting U.S. Attorney Andrew Byerly Birge announced today. In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Janet T. Neff imposed a 3-year term of supervised release that will commence once Odneal is released from imprisonment.

          In February of 2017, police were looking for Odneal in connection with an unrelated case. They located him near his home in Muskegon, but he fled from police, throwing a loaded .38 caliber Smith and Wesson revolver while in flight. Police recovered the weapon, but Odneal escaped. Police again located Odneal in April of 2017 and arrested him. Police recovered three additional firearms at the time of Odneal’s arrest, an SKS rifle, a stolen .40 caliber semiautomatic handgun, and a shortened (sawed-off) .22 caliber rifle. Odneal had taken a photo of himself brandishing one of the weapons, his fingerprint was on another, and he admitted to moving the third. Odneal had previously been convicted of being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm.

          In its sentencing memorandum, the U.S. Attorney’s Office argued in favor of a significant custodial sentence, noting that Odneal "has a long history replete with violence and weapons offenses." In fact, "his most recent state-court conviction involving a running gun battle" in Muskegon. In light of his history, the U.S. Attorney’s Office argued that Odneal posed an immense risk to the community. "The Muskegon community suffers from gun violence, and there is a great need to deter such conduct by others. A significant sentence will tend to deter such conduct."

          "While gun violence continues to be a problem that affects the safety and security of our neighborhoods, this sentence reflects the continuing impact that the Muskegon Violent Crime Task Force is having on the ability of those individuals who seek to threaten our communities", said Jeffrey R. Downey, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Detroit Division of the FBI.

          The charges in this case are the result of an investigation by the Muskegon Violent Crime Task Force, which includes the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Michigan State Police (MSP), and the Muskegon City Police Department. The U.S. Attorney's Office, the Muskegon County Prosecutor's Office, and federal, state, and local law enforcement are working closely together to combat violent crime and drug trafficking in the Muskegon area. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean M. Lewis prosecuted the case.


Updated September 20, 2017