MOBILE, AL – A Robertsdale, Alabama man was sentenced today to 108 months in prison for being a felon in possession of ammunition.
According to court documents and evidence introduced at sentencing, Ronald Howard, 51, having previously been convicted of a felony offense, knowingly possessed ammunition in connection with a sexual assault and unlawful restraint. As part of the sentence, United States District Court Judge Terry F. Moorer ordered that Howard undergo three years of supervised release after finishing his term of imprisonment, during which time Howard is ordered to participate in substance abuse treatment, sexual offender treatment, refrain from contact with minors, and pay a $100 mandatory special assessment.
U.S. Attorney Sean P. Costello of the Southern District of Alabama and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (“ATF”) Resident Agent in Charge Kenneth J. Fos made the announcement. ATF and the Mobile Police Department (“MPD”) investigated the case.
At Howard’s sentencing, Judge Moorer heard testimony about the indicent. On the morning of February 11, 2020, officers from MPD responded to a 911 call from a bystander who reported seeing a woman being pushed out of a silver car. When the police arrived, the female victim had a bloodied head.
The victim reported that in the early morning hours of February 11, 2020, she was approached by three people in a silver car who offered her a ride and Howard was in the back seat, where the victim was also sitting. While both were in the backseat, Howard repeatedly struck the victim in the head with a gun and sexually assaulted the victim, who reported that Howard was armed with two guns. Mobile Fire Rescue transported the victim to a hospital to receive treatment for her injuries, which included a laceration to her head that required six staples.
A few hours later, Mobile Police Department officers stopped the silver car, which matched the victim’s description. Officers took the three occupants, including Howard, into custody. Officers found the victim’s identification card in Howard’s pocket and collected Howard’s clothing as evidence. Officers located nine unfired rounds of .38 Special ammunition in Howard’s pants pocket. Subsequent forensic testing completed by the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences (“ADFS”) revealed that the victim’s DNA (a blood stain) was on the pants that Howard was wearing on the day of the assault. The victim made a positive identification of all three persons in the silver car in a photo lineup.
During a subsequent search of the car, police found a loaded .380 caliber pistol and a loaded .38 caliber revolver. The two weapons matched the victim’s description of the firearms that Howard possessed during the assault. Police swabbed the guns for DNA testing completed by the ADFS, which later confirmed the presence of Howard’s DNA on a swabbing from the .380 caliber pistol.
Howard has pending state charges in the Circuit Court of Mobile County, Alabama for sodomy in the first degree, sexual abuse in the first degree, and assault in the second degree. The Mobile County District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting Howard’s related state offenses.
The Mobile Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated the case, and were assisted by the MPD Special Victims Unit, the Rape Crisis Center, USA Women’s and Children’s Hospital Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program, the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, and the officers of MPD’s Third Precinct. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sinan Kalayoglu and Beth Stepan prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.
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