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Press Release

Sun Prairie Man Sentenced to 51 Months for Illegally Possessing Ammunition

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

MADISON, WIS. – Timothy M. O’Shea, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Marvin Coates, 34, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin was sentenced today by Chief U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson to 51 months in federal prison for illegally possessing ammunition.  Coates pleaded guilty to this charge on November 30, 2021. 

On June 23, 2019, shortly after 1:00 a.m., deputies from the Dane County Sheriff’s Office responded to reports of a fight and shots fired outside of the American Legion in Westport, Wisconsin.  When deputies arrived, they secured the area and found seven Winchester .40 caliber shell casings in the parking lot.  Surveillance video from an adjacent business confirmed that a fight broke out near the American Legion.  The video also showed that Coates retrieved a pistol from his car, walked towards the people who were fighting, and fired seven shots into the air. 

During an interview with law enforcement, Coates identified himself in the surveillance video and admitted to being a convicted felon.

At sentencing, Judge Peterson highlighted Coates’s criminal history and the serious nature of his conduct.  Judge Peterson also noted that, by firing the gun, Coates brought the threat of violence to an already volatile situation. 

The charge against Coates was the result of an investigation conducted by the Dane County Sheriff’s Office.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Chadwick M. Elgersma prosecuted this case. 

This case has been brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the U.S. Justice Department’s program to reduce violent crime.  The PSN approach emphasizes coordination between state and federal prosecutors and all levels of law enforcement to address gun crime, especially felons illegally possessing firearms and ammunition and violent and drug crimes that involve the use of firearms.

Updated March 10, 2022

Project Safe Neighborhoods