Nicholas County Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Gun Crime

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Ralph Floyd Barnett, Jr., 61, of Birch River, pleaded guilty today to a federal gun crime. A federal grand jury indicted Barnett in April 2021.

According to statements made in court, deputies with the Nicholas County Sheriff’s Department responded to Barnett’s residence in Birch River on August 17, 2019 after he made a series of 911 calls, including one in which he threatened to shoot somebody. After hearing gunshots as they approached the residence, deputies arrested Barnett and obtained a search warrant to search his residence. A member of the Nicholas County Sheriff’s Department subsequently recovered a .22 caliber handgun from a chicken coop located on Barnett’s property. Barnett admitted that he was prohibited from possessing firearms as a result of his prior felony conviction for the federal crime of aiding and abetting in maintaining a drug premises.

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Barnett pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a felon and faces up to 10 years in prison when sentenced on October 21, 2021.

Acting United States Attorney Lisa G. Johnston made the announcement and commended the investigative work of the Nicholas County Sheriff’s Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).


United States District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin presided over the hearing. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nowles Heinrich is prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia. Related court documents and information can be found on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:21-cr-00066.

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