CHARLOTTE, N.C. – U.S. Attorney Murray announced today that three felons convicted of illegally possessing firearms have been sentenced to prison, as part of the Western District’s Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) strategy to remove guns from the hands of prohibited persons and reduce gun-related violence.
U.S. District Judge Max O. Cogburn, Jr. sentenced Louie Raymond Forney, 27, of Charlotte, to 40 months in prison, for possessing a firearm after being convicted of a felony. According to court records, on or about December 22, 2015, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) officers attempted to conduct a traffic stop of the vehicle Forney was driving. Forney did not stop the vehicle and instead sped away. After crashing the vehicle, Forney jumped out of the car window, dropped a Smith and Wesson, Shield .40 caliber semiautomatic pistol on the ground, and fled on foot. At the time of the incident, Forney had prior felony convictions and was prohibited from possessing a firearm. In addition to the prison term imposed, Judge Cogburn also ordered Forney to serve two years under court supervision after he is released from prison.
Judge Cogburn also sentenced Damarius Derron Massey, 38, of Charlotte, to 33 months in prison and two years of supervised release for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Court records show that on June 16, 2017, over the course of a traffic stop, CMPD officers found Massey to be in possession of a stolen and loaded Taurus PT AFS .40 caliber pistol. Massey was previously convicted of Conspiracy to Commit Armed Robbery and Attempted Trafficking in Cocaine and is prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition.
On Monday, Judge Cogburn ordered Joseph Gerell Banks, 27, of Charlotte, to serve 46 months in prison and two years of supervised release for illegally possessing a firearm. According to court records, on April 8, 2017, Banks possessed a Glock, model 36, .45 caliber pistol and a .45 shell casing. Banks was previously convicted of a crime punishable by more than one year in prison and is prohibited from possessing a firearm.
“With each gun prosecution, an illegal firearm has been taken off our streets and, in all likelihood, multiple gun-related crimes have been prevented,” said U.S. Attorney Murray. “My priority as U.S. Attorney is to reduce gun violence across the Western District, and to hold accountable those who carry guns illegally and violate federal gun laws. Guns do not belong in the hands of felons,” Murray added.
In making today’s announcement, U.S. Attorney Murray thanked the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department for their investigation of each case, and commended Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sanjeev Bhasker for handling the prosecution of Louie Forney; William T. Bozin for handling the prosecution of Damarius Massey; and Erik Lindahl for handling the prosecution of Joseph Banks.
These cases are 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.