Peoria Man Convicted of Possession of a Firearm by a Felon

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

PEORIA, Ill. – A federal jury returned a guilty verdict today against Vincent Nichols, Jr., 34, of the 3600 block of West Hedge Hill Lane, in Peoria, Illinois, for possession of a firearm by a felon. Sentencing for Nichols has been scheduled for July 28, 2022 at the federal courthouse in Peoria, Illinois.

Over two days of testimony, the government presented evidence to establish that on September 23, 2020, Nichols was a passenger in a car being driven by an individual with an outstanding arrest warrant. Peoria Police Officers conducted a traffic stop of the vehicle and arrested the driver. Police then searched the car and asked each of three additional occupants to step out.  During the search, police located a 9mm handgun directly on top of the seat where Nichols had been sitting. The gun was loaded with 15 rounds of live ammunition in the magazine and one round in the chamber.

In pretrial filings, the government had established that Nichols had previously been convicted of a felony offense punishable by a term of imprisonment exceeding one year. 

Nichols remains in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service. At sentencing, Nichols faces statutory penalties of up to 10 years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and up to a three-year term of supervised release. Should Nichols be deemed a career criminal, his sentencing range would increase to 15 years to life imprisonment.

The investigation was conducted by the Peoria Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ronald L. Hanna and Sarah Holst Schryer represented the government at trial.