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Press Release

Convicted Felon with Prior Domestic Violence History Given 5 Year Sentence for Gun Possession

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

Memphis, TN – Clinton Towles, 39, has been sentenced to 60 months in federal prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm. D. Michael Dunavant, U.S. Attorney announced the sentence today.

According to information presented in Court, on April 28, 2019, at approximately 3:00 a.m., Memphis Police Officers responded to an aggravated assault call in the 600 block of Pearce Street. A victim advised that an unknown male was intoxicated and beating on her mother's vehicle parked on the street and when she confronted the suspect, he threatened to shoot her and pointed a revolver at her and other family members.

When officers arrived on the scene, a person matching the suspect's description was walking nearby the house. Officers searched him and found a revolver in his waistband along with 6 spent shell casings. The victims immediately recognized the person as the suspect who pointed the gun at them. The defendant initially gave the police his name as Curtis Gilchrease. When the officers discovered Towles gave false identification, he advised law enforcement that he used his uncle’s name because he was a convicted felon.

As a result of his prior felony convictions including reckless aggravated assault, and several misdemeanor convictions for domestic assault involving bodily injury, Towles is prohibited by federal law from possession of firearms or ammunition.

On February 21, 2020, Towles pled guilty to being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and possessing a firearm after having been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.

On September 3, 2020, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas L. Parker sentenced Towles to 60 months in federal prison, followed by 3 years supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system. Towles is also charged with aggravated assault in state court, and that case is still pending.

U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said, "Based upon his prior criminal history, Towles has demonstrated his propensity for violence. Under our PSN and Project Guardian initiatives, we focus on removing firearms from the hands of prohibited persons, and removing dangerous offenders from our streets. Clearly, this recidivist had no hesitation in committing another violent crime with a firearm, and he will now be rightly punished and removed from the community for 5 years."

This case was investigated by the Memphis Police Department and Project Safe Neighborhoods Task Force. The Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) initiative is 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. In 2017, PSN was reinvigorated as part of the Justice 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. Project Guardian is a new DOJ initiative designed to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws across the country by focusing on investigating, prosecuting, and preventing gun crimes.

Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Samuel D. Winnig prosecuted this case on behalf of the government. SAUSA Winnig is currently assigned from the Shelby County District Attorney General’s Office for the purpose of prosecuting violent crimes and firearms offenses in federal court.


Updated September 4, 2020