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Justice News

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

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Armed Career Criminal Sentenced To 15 Years In Prison

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – U.S. Attorney R. Andrew Murray announced that, late yesterday, Johnny Obrian Leach, 31, of Gastonia, N.C. was sentenced to 180 months in prison and three years of supervised release for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.  U.S. District Judge Robert J. Conrad, Jr. presided over the sentencing.

John A. Strong, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Charlotte Division, and Chief Robert C. Helton of the Gastonia Police Department join U.S. Attorney Murray in making today’s announcement.

According to court documents and today’s sentencing hearing, on November 7, 2017, Leach possessed a loaded .22 caliber Walther pistol.  Leach’s prior convictions, which include Assault with Deadly Weapon Inflicting Serious Injury on April 24, 2004; two counts of Robbery with Dangerous Weapon and two counts of First Degree Kidnapping on October 20, 2005; and two counts of Robbery with Dangerous Weapon on October 26, 2005, prohibit Leach from possessing firearms.  At today’s sentencing hearing Leach received an enhanced sentence as an “Armed Career Criminal.”

Leach pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in February 2018.  He is currently in federal custody and will be transferred to custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility.  Federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.

In making today’s announcement U.S. Attorney Murray thanked the FBI and the Gastonia Police Department for their investigation of the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven R. Kaufman of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte prosecuted the case.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.   Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Updated September 11, 2018