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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 18, 2015

Ashland Felon Sentenced To 92 Months For Gun Crimes

MADISON, WIS. -- John W. Vaudreuil, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Justin Edwards, 37, Ashland, Wis., was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb to 92 months in federal prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for possession of a sawed-off shotgun and possession of a firearm by a felon.   Edwards pleaded guilty to these charges on February 10, 2015.  

Edwards was convicted of burglary in 2008 and prohibited from possessing a firearm.  On June 10, 2012, Ashland police responded to a 911 call that Edwards had taken his girlfriend’s car without her consent.  An officer stopped Edwards leaving the vicinity and arrested him on an outstanding arrest warrant and suspicion of vehicle theft.  A search of the car located a loaded sawed-off shotgun in front of the rear passenger seat. 

Edwards filed a motion in U.S. District Court claiming that the shotgun was found in violation of his rights and the district court ruled in his favor, suppressing the shotgun.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office appealed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.  Pending appeal, Edwards was released from custody and placed on conditions that he not violate state or federal law.  On October 3, 2014, the Court of Appeals found that the June 10, 2012 search of the vehicle was proper and reversed the district court order suppressing the sawed-off shotgun. 

Ten days before the reversal by the Court of Appeals, on September 23, 2014, Edwards was arrested by Ashland police on an outstanding warrant and was found with a stolen .357 revolver in a shoulder holster.  On October 9, 2014, Edwards was indicted on charges that included possession of a firearm by a felon, this time for the October 3, 2014 possession of the revolver.

After pleading guilty to charges from both the 2012 and 2014 arrests, the cases were joined to be considered together at sentencing.  In passing sentence, Judge Crabb expressed consternation at Edwards’ commission of new crimes while on federal conditions of bond pending appeal.        

The charges against Edwards were the result of an investigation conducted by the Ashland Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  The prosecution of the case has been handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Burke.

Updated July 14, 2015