OKLAHOMA CITY — In the past week, four defendants have been sentenced to a total of 188 months in separate and unrelated cases as part of "Operation 922," the violent crime initiative of the United States Attorney’s Office targeting domestic violence derived cases, announced First Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert J. Troester. Within the last week, the following four defendants were sentenced in separate and unrelated cases:
- MICHAEL DEWAYNE GARRETT, 24, of Oklahoma City. On July 16, 2018, a female pawned a firearm at a pawn shop in Oklahoma City. That firearm had been stolen in a 2017 robbery of a sporting goods store. The investigation revealed that the female, who had been the victim of domestic violence, was forced to pawn the firearm belonging to Garrett on his behalf. Garrett was indicted on August 7, 2018, for illegally possessing a firearm following a felony conviction. He pled guilty on October 2, 2018.
At a sentencing hearing late last week, United States District Judge Timothy DeGiusti considered Garrett’s history of domestic violence, as well as the illegal possession of the firearm, and ordered Garrett to serve 50 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jacquelyn Hutzell and Matt Anderson prosecuted this case.
- MARTRELL LITTLEJOHN, 27, of Oklahoma City. On May 8, 2017, Littlejohn threatened an ex-girlfriend with a firearm. He discharged the firearm at least 12 times in a residential neighborhood as his ex-girlfriend fled. Littlejohn was indicted on July 17, 2018, for being a previously convicted felon in possession of a firearm. He pled guilty on October 30, 2018.
At a sentencing hearing yesterday, United States District Judge David Russell considered Littlejohn’s history of domestic violence, his discharge of a firearm during a domestic violence incident, and the government’s motion for a higher sentence than the guideline range of 24-30 months. At the conclusion of the hearing, Judge Russell ordered Littlejohn to serve 84 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacquelyn Hutzell prosecuted this case.
- KIRBY DONALD KEITH, 50, of Oklahoma City. On August 25, 2018, the Oklahoma City Police Department responded to a domestic disturbance call at an address they had been called to multiple times for Keith’s violation of a victim protection order (VPO). The caller reported seeing Keith running with an object in his hand near her property. While searching the area, OCPD located Keith, who had fallen out of a tree. Upon searching Keith’s vehicle, officers located a shotgun and a pistol. Keith was indicted on September 18, 2018, for illegally possessing a firearm while subject to an active VPO. He pled guilty on December 3, 2018.
At sentencing today, United States District Judge Scott Palk considered Keith’s history of domestic violence, including seven VPOs that had been filed against him from five different individuals, in addition to his illegal possession of a firearm while being subject to an active VPO. Judge Palk ordered Keith to serve 18 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ashley Altshuler prosecuted this case.
- Michael Shane Mcconnell, 48, of Chickasha. On July 19, 2018, the Chickasha Police Department responded to a 911 call from a woman claiming McConnell, the caller’s estranged husband, followed her into her driveway, pulled a gun, and threatened to kill her and himself. During the encounter, McConnell started choking her and slammed her head and face into the dashboard of a car. McConnell left before police arrived, but was later located on a county road where he was threatening to shoot himself. A Grady County Judge had previously issued two final VPOs against McConnell until April 2, 2023. McConnell was indicted on August 21, 2018. He pled guilty on October 5, 2018.
At a sentencing hearing today, United States District Judge Timothy DeGiusti considered McConnell’s history of domestic violence, including repeated threats of violence and actual violence against his wife over a two-year time period, once shooting their bed with a shotgun, culminating in a March 2018 incident in which he pointed a firearm at his wife and said he was going to kill her. The Grady County court issued the VPOs on April 2, 2018, protecting his wife and her daughters after a hearing about the March 2018 incident. Judge DeGiusti considered all of this information, in addition to McConnell’s illegal possession of a firearm while being subject to an active VPO, and ordered McConnell to serve 36 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release. Assistant U.S. Attorney K. McKenzie Anderson prosecuted this case.
These cases are the result of investigations conducted by the Oklahoma City Police Department, Chickasha Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s Office and the Grady County District Attorney’s Office. Prosecutors also thank Palomar, Oklahoma City’s Family Justice Center, for their assistance in providing critical services to victims of domestic violence.
Progress of "Operation 922"
Since "Operation 922" began in March of 2018, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has brought charges in 55 separate domestic violence derived cases. To date, 46 defendants have pled or been found guilty. Of those, 23 have been sentenced to a collective total of 2,198 months in federal prison. Five more “Operation 922” defendants are scheduled to be sentenced in June.
These prosecutions are part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the Department of Justice’s national violent crime reduction initiative aimed at making our communities safer and more secure. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally-based prevention and re-entry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
"Operation 922" is the local implementation of the national PSN initiative in the Western District of Oklahoma. Rather than focusing on prosecutions coming from a geographic area, "Operation 922" prioritizes prosecutions on a subject matter plaguing Oklahoma -- domestic violence. As part of this initiative, federal prosecutors focus on enforcing 18 U.S.C. § 922, which precludes specific individuals from possessing firearms or ammunition. Here, the focus is on domestic violence abusers who are subject to a VPO, or who have been previously convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. In addition, the U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecutes domestic abuse related cases in Indian Country, including conduct involving assault, battery, strangulation, and homicide.
"We cannot have safe neighborhoods without first having safe homes," said Mr. Troester. "We are convinced we are saving lives by bringing the power of federal prosecution to help protect women and children who are the subject of repeated abuse and violence, particularly when that violence escalates to a point where firearms or weapons are involved. We are proud to partner with and assist state, local, and tribal law enforcement, prosecutors, and non-profit entities who are working each day to combat the epidemic of domestic violence in Oklahoma."