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Justice News

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

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Convicted Felon in Possession of a Firearm in School Zone Sentenced to 10 Years in Federal Prison

Memphis, TN – Herbert Graham, 32, has been sentenced to 120 months in federal prison for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant announced the sentence today.

According to information presented in court, on January 30, 2018, Memphis Police Officers responded to a burglary/aggravated assault call on Kimbark Woods Drive. The residents advised they observed a family friend, Herbert Graham, steal a laptop from their back bedroom and escape through the window. The victims searched the neighborhood until they located Graham walking toward Raleigh Lagrange. They demanded Graham return the laptop; instead Graham pulled a firearm out of his pants, pointed the weapon and threatened to kill them. The victims left and notified law enforcement.

As officers made the scene, they observed Graham walking on Chiswood Street with the laptop in hand. Graham saw the officers, dropped the laptop and fled from police onto the school property of Memphis Rise Academy. Officers gave chase and observed Graham toss a magazine and a gun on the ground. A faculty member observed the firearm on school grounds and an immediate lock down of the school was put in place to ensure the safety of the students. Minutes later, Graham was apprehended on the school campus. The firearm and magazine were recovered near the gymnasium and music room.

The magazine was loaded with 15 live rounds and the gun held one live round in the chamber. The gun, a Smith and Wesson 9mm pistol was reported stolen in 2016, out of Shelby County. Graham has prior convictions for aggravated burglary and aggravated assault, as well as a prior conviction for being a convicted felon in possession of a handgun.

On January 22, 2020, U.S. District Court Judge Sheryl H. Lipman sentenced Graham to 120 months in federal prison followed by 3 years supervised release.

U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said, "Convicted felons who possess firearms are an inherent danger and threat to the community. Under our PSN initiative, we focus on removing firearms from the hands of prohibited persons, and removing dangerous felons from our streets. Clearly, this felon had no hesitation in committing a violent crime with a firearm and further endangering school faculty and students. He will now be rightly punished and incapacitated for 10 years for his recidivist threatening behavior with a gun.

This case was investigated by the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Task Force, which includes the U.S. Attorney’s Office; the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); the Memphis Police Department; and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, who have all joined together to address gun-related crimes through targeted investigations and aggressive prosecution.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Raney Irwin and Marques Young prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.


Cherri Green Public Affairs (901) 544-4231
Updated January 23, 2020