Jury Convicts Jackson County Man of Illegal Firearm


KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A Jackson County, Missouri, man was convicted at trial by a federal jury today of illegally possessing a firearm.

James Johnson, 75, was found guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Johnson was in possession of a Ruger .22-caliber semi-automatic handgun on Nov. 28, 2019. Law enforcement officers confronted Johnson after receiving a report that he was trespassing on Union Pacific Railroad property. Johnson, who told officers he was walking to St. Louis, was carrying the loaded firearm in a red and black fabric bag, with additional ammunition in a computer bag.

Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition. Johnson was on state parole for murder, robbery, and assault with intent to do great bodily harm at the time of the offense.

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Following the presentation of evidence, the jury in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo., deliberated for about 30 minutes before returning the guilty verdict to U.S. District Judge Roseann Ketchmark, ending a trial that began Monday, Aug. 16.

Under federal statutes, Johnson is subject to a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

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This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Trey Alford and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah J. Rasalam. It was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Project Safe Neighborhoods

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime.  Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.  As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime. 

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