Third Defendant Enters Guilty Plea in Case Involving the Shooting of a U.S. Mail Carrier
In San Antonio today, 41-year-old Piper Lee of San Antonio, pleaded guilty to federal charges in connection with the shooting of a U.S. Mail carrier last year in Spring Branch, TX, announced United States Attorney John F. Bash; Inspector in Charge Adrian Gonzalez, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Houston Division; and, San Antonio Police Chief William McManus.
Appearing before United States Magistrate Judge Richard B. Farrer, Lee pleaded guilty to two counts of aiding and abetting the assault of a federal officer and one count of possession of stolen mail. Lee, who remains in federal custody, faces up to 20 years in federal prison. Sentencing is scheduled for November 1, 2018, before Chief United States District Judge Orlando Garcia.
According to court records, on February 11, 2017, Lee’s co-defendant, 24-year-old Bradley Ahearn, shot a shot a female U.S. Mail carrier as she was delivering mail to a cluster of mailboxes in Spring Branch, TX. The victim is still recovering from the gunshot that pierced both of her legs. Ahearn and another co-defendant, 27-year-old Sarah Richford, fled the scene. Lee was not charged with participating in that shooting.
On February 14, 2017, employees of a local motel notified investigators of the presence of a large amount of U.S. Mail and a handgun case in one of the motel rooms. Much of the discovered mail, originating from locations across the country, was destined for addresses in the Spring Branch, TX area. Motel surveillance footage showed Lee picking up Ahearn and Richford and leaving the motel in Lee’s yellow Volkswagen. Investigators requested San Antonio police to initiate a stop of the vehicle. While failing to yield to SAPD officers, Ahearn began shooting at the police officers and another high-speed pursuit ensued. Ultimately, the defendants abandoned their vehicle inside a parking garage of a local mall and managed to elude capture by law enforcement.
On February 15, 2017, San Antonio police officers, acting on information provided to investigators, arrested Ahearn, Richford and Lee without incident in a parking lot of a different local motel.
Richford, who remains in federal custody, is scheduled to be sentenced on September 6, 2018. She faces 20 years in federal prison after pleading guilty on February 23, 2018, to five charges--aiding and abetting carjacking; aiding and abetting use of a firearm during a crime of violence; aiding and abetting robbery of U.S. Mail; and, two counts of aiding and abetting assault on a federal officer.
On July 12, 2018, Ahearn was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to seven charges including aiding and abetting carjacking; aiding and abetting use of a firearm during a crime of violence; aiding and abetting robbery of U.S. Mail; and, four counts of aiding and abetting assault on a federal officer.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service together with the San Antonio Police Department, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Rangers, Comal County Sheriff’s Office, Bulverde Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Marshals Service and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) investigated this case. Assistant United States Attorneys Bettina Richardson and Christina Playton are prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.