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Press Release

Columbia Man Sentenced to 15 Years for Illegal Firearm

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

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A Columbia, Missouri, man was sentenced in federal court today for illegally possessing a firearm.

Samuel Ernest Haley III, 46, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Stephen R. Bough to 15 years in federal prison without parole. Haley was sentenced as an armed career criminal due to his prior felony convictions.

On Oct. 21, 2019, Haley pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Haley, driving a 2018 Toyota Corolla, was stopped by Columbia police officers on April 4, 2018, after he merged off Interstate 70 onto the Lake of the Woods Road exit without using his turn signal. As officers were questioning Haley outside his car, he jumped into the driver’s seat and attempted to drive off. As Haley attempted to put the car in drive with his foot on the gas pedal, an officer struggled with him to shut off the car. Another officer deployed his Taser on Haley in order to gain compliance and take him into custody. After several cycles of the Taser, Haley began to comply with the officers’ commands. He was placed in handcuffs and removed from the car.

When officers searched Haley’s car, they found a loaded KAHR Arms CW45 semi-automatic handgun. They also found a soft zipper case that contained approximately 1.56 grams of crack cocaine.

Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition. Haley has two prior felony convictions for assault, and prior felony convictions for armed criminal action and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance.

According to court documents, over the course of Haley’s life, he has shot three different people on three different occasions, including his own daughter. In 2016, Haley was charged with driving a moving truck through the front wall of his former paramour’s home (because he was upset she was sleeping with another man) while her teenage daughter was asleep upstairs. Haley has been convicted of a litany of violent and dangerous domestic violence offenses, as well as a host of other crimes including property offenses and resisting arrest. Following Haley’s arrest and detention in this case, according to court documents, he has been involved in four fights with other inmates and assaulted a corrections officer.

This case was prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron M. Jolly. It was investigated by the Columbia, Mo., Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. 

Project Safe Neighborhoods
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 Missouri. 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. Project Safe Neighborhoods is an evidence-based program that identifies the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develops comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, Project Safe Neighborhoods focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

Updated February 20, 2020

Project Safe Neighborhoods