Illinois Man Sentenced to 30 Months for Illegal Gun Possession

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

MADISON, WIS. – Timothy M. O’Shea, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Keith T. Jones, 28, Chicago, Illinois was sentenced yesterday by Chief U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson to 30 months in federal prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm.  This prison term will be followed by 3 years of supervised release.  Jones pleaded guilty to this charge on December 15, 2021.

On the night of August 24, 2020, La Crosse Police Department officers responded to a shots-fired complaint in La Crosse.  Officers learned that multiple gunshots were fired from a gray minivan towards a blue sedan.  Multiple residents reported bullet hole damage to their homes from the shooting, including into a bedroom that was occupied at the time. 

The next day, officers conducted a traffic stop on the gray minivan involved in the shooting.  Jones was one of the occupants in the minivan at the time of the stop.  Officers searched the minivan and found a loaded Taurus 9mm handgun in the center console, and a spent 9mm shell casing under the driver’s seat.  The Taurus handgun was identified as the same firearm used in the shooting the night before, and further investigation revealed that Jones was the shooter.  In addition, analysis by the Wisconsin State Crime Lab identified Jones’ DNA on the firearm.  Jones was prohibited from possessing a firearm based on a prior felony conviction. 

At sentencing, Judge Peterson noted that Jones’s gun possession was connected to a shooting that occurred in a neighborhood which posed a profound risk to the community, including both the intended targets as well as bystanders.  Judge Peterson said the sentence was meant to be a deterrent to Jones to prevent any future involvement with firearms, and also a message that shootings which take place in communities have to be taken seriously and will lead to steeper punishment. 

Co-defendant Antwan Taylor, who was also involved in this drive-by shooting,  previously pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm and was sentenced to 5 years in federal prison by Judge Peterson on December 2, 2021.

The charge against Jones was the result of an investigation conducted by the La Crosse Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  The La Crosse County District Attorney’s Office also provided assistance in this case.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven P. Anderson 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 involves collaboration by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and communities to prevent and deter gun violence.