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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Response to 911 Call Lands Lawton Man in Federal Prison for Eight Years for Unlawful Possession of Explosives and Firearms

OKLAHOMA CITY – PHILIP JAMES HEATH, 52, of Lawton, has been sentenced to serve 96 months in federal prison for possession of illegal explosives and possession of multiple firearms after having been previously convicted of a felony, announced Timothy J. Downing, United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma.

According to court records, on January 30, 2019, Lawton police officers responded to a 911 call and ultimately discovered multiple firearms inside Heath’s residence.  Because of additional materials discovered at the scene, the Lawton Police Department was then assisted in the investigation by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the FBI Oklahoma City Division’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.

On February 4, 2019, Heath was charged by criminal complaint with being a convicted felon in possession of multiple firearms.  On April 3, 2019, a federal grand jury returned a two-count Indictment that alleged illegal possession of firearms and two lengths of detonating cord, an illegal explosive under federal law.  The Indictment also sought forfeiture of five firearms, 1,404 rounds of various kinds of ammunition, and the two lengths of detonating cord.  On June 6, 2019, Heath pleaded guilty to both counts alleged in the Indictment.

Today, U.S. District Court Judge Scott L. Palk sentenced Heath to serve eight years in federal prison and three years of supervised release following his release from prison.  The sentence consisted of 96 months on each count of conviction to run concurrently with each other.  Judge Palk also ordered Heath to forfeit the items listed in the Indictment.  In announcing Heath’s sentence, Judge Palk emphasized Heath’s criminal history, his conduct related to the possession of the illegal explosives, the need to protect the public from further crimes of Heath, and the need to adequately deter him from engaging in criminal conduct.

This case is a result of an investigation by the Lawton Police Department, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the FBI Oklahoma City Division’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.  Prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brandon Hale and Travis D. Smith, the case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  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 on the most violent offenders and partners with local prevention and re-entry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

Reference is made to court filings for further information.  To download a photo of U.S. Attorney Downing, click here.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses
Updated September 10, 2020