Straw purchaser of firearm used in murder charged

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Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele and Norristown Police Chief Mark E. Talbot Sr. announce the arrest of Sincere Burnett, 21, of Norristown, on numerous felony charges related to purchasing and illegally transferring the murder weapon used to kill Junior Pinnock in Norristown.

Burnett’s arrest stems from the murder of Pinnock on Sunday, April 25, 2021. At 9:08 p.m., Norristown Police responded to Ann and Barbadoes Streets in Norristown for a report of a man who had been shot. Police arrived to find Pinnock, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds and he was pronounced dead at Suburban Community Hospital. At the scene, four 9mm cartridge casings were recovered at the scene as well as the sheath, blade and handle of a long-bladed knife. The joint investigation by Norristown Police and Montgomery County Detectives found that co-defendants Montez Kent and Hilton Freeman parked in the nearby county-owned parking lot. Kent and the victim physically fought in the street, with Kent lunging at the victim with a long-bladed knife before Freeman shot the victim multiple times. Both men ran back to the vehicle and fled the area in a dark-colored vehicle. Both Kent and Freeman have been arrested and charged with First-Degree Murder and related charges.

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Detectives recently found the firearm used in the shooting in a national recreation area/park and discovered the firearm—a Sarsilmaz 9mm semi-automatic pistol—was purchased by Burnett on March 22, 2021 at a Montgomery County gun store. Detectives also found that Burnett had purchased three other firearms, only one of which was in his possession at the time of his arrest. The 9 mm firearm used in the murder was purchased under the direction of Freeman, who is not legally allowed to purchase, possess, use, manufacture, sell or transfer a firearm. This illegally purchased firearm was then used by Freeman in the murder of Junior Pinnock 34 days after the straw purchase. “We have recently arrested a number of people for straw purchasing firearms and for running gun trafficking organizations that deal in straw purchases, both of which arm criminals,” said DA Steele.

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“This murder of Junior Pinnock by Hilton Freeman using a straw purchased gun shows exactly what the ramifications are of straw purchased firearms. We knew it was only a matter of time before a murder happened using a gun we could directly trace to a straw purchase. And now here we are.”


A “straw purchase” is when a person with a clean background purchases firearms specifically on behalf of another person to conceal the true ownership of the firearm. Persons who are unable to legally purchase a firearm includes convicted felons, domestic violence misdemeanants, juveniles and mentally ill individuals. Additionally, Freeman was extradited back to Montgomery County. He was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Marc A. Alfaranno. There is no bail available for First-Degree Murder charges and he was remanded to the Montgomery County Correctional Facility (MCCF).

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m., June 4, 2021 before Magisterial District Judge Greg Scott. Asia Jackson, who assisted Freeman in his flight to Florida, was arraigned before Judge Scott, who set bail at $50,000 unsecured, and she was released. Jackson’s preliminary hearing is set for 10 a.m., June 4, 2021 before Judge Scott.

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Burnett was arrested by detectives at a gun store in Montgomery County, where he was looking at various firearms. He was charged with three counts of Unlawful Transfer of a Firearm, Materially False Statements, Unsworn Falsification to Authorities, Firearm Carried Without a License and related charges. He was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Marc A. Alfaranno, who set bail at $500,000 cash. The defendant failed to make bail and was remanded to MCCF. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m., June 7, 2021 before Judge Alfaranno.The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Chief of Trials Roderick Fancher and Assistant District Attorney William Highland, with the Norristown Community Justice Unit.