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Press Release

Judge Finds Pittsburgh Felon Guilty of Illegally Possessing Ammunition

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

PITTSBURGH, PA - A former resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has been convicted in federal court for violating federal firearms laws, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

Ambrose J. Sample, II, 38, was convicted after a January 2019, bench trial before Senior United States District Court Judge Joy Flowers Conti. The defendant was found guilty of one count of possession of ammunition by a convicted felon, and acquitted of a charge related to possession of a firearm. The Judge issued the verdict today after receiving and considering findings of fact and conclusions of law by the parties.

The charges in the Indictment arose from an incident wherein the defendant pulled a firearm from his waistband and fired shots into the air after a dispute with neighbors. The Court was advised that after the defendant fired shots into the air, witnesses observed his girlfriend drive away from the scene shortly after officers responded to the area. The defendant agreed to submit to a gunshot residue test of his hands and it was found that he had components of primer-gunshot residue on both of his hands. Officers obtained search warrants for the defendant’s residence as well as the residence of his girlfriend. In the defendant’s residence, officers recovered one GFL .380 ammunition. From his girlfriend’s residence, under the bed where she had been sleeping, officers recovered a firearm. Sample has been previously convicted of the charges of murder of the third degree, aggravated harassment by a prisoner, simple assault, fleeing and eluding police and tampering with physical evidence, all of which preclude him from possessing ammunition or firearms. The Court found the defendant guilty of possessing the ammunition that was present in his residence. The Court, however, found the defendant not guilty of possessing the firearm recovered from his girlfriend’s residence, as it was not proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the firearm was the same one possessed by the defendant.

Judge Conti scheduled sentencing for July 18, 2019. The law provides for a total sentence of not more than 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history of the defendant.

Judge Conti ordered that Sample remain detained pending sentencing.

Assistant United States Attorneys Shanicka L. Kennedy and Yvonne Saadi are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Police conducted the investigation leading to the Indictment in this case.

This case is being prosecuted under Project Safe Neighborhoods, a collaborative effort by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and communities to prevent, deter and prosecute gun crime. Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. 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 to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

Updated March 21, 2019

Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods