Peoria Man Sentenced to 81 Months in Prison for Illegally Possessing Firearms

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

PEORIA, Ill. – A Peoria, Illinois, man, Robert Jerome Miller, 32, of the 700 block of West Pine Hill Lane, was sentenced on May 10, 2022, to a total of 81 months’ imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for two instances of possession of a firearm by a felon.

At the sentencing hearing, the government presented evidence that on May 26, 2020, Peoria Police responded to a ShotSpotter alert of gunfire in the 200 block of East Arcadia Avenue. Police found Miller lying on the sidewalk with a gunshot wound to his face and shoulder. Miller lay about 20 feet from the passenger side of his vehicle, bleeding from his mouth and broadcasting his injuries on Facebook Live. Police then located bullet holes in the driver’s side door of Miller’s car and saw blood on the passenger side door and frame. Upon further inspection, a loaded .40 caliber handgun was found on the passenger seat of the vehicle. The gun and magazine were improperly loaded with 9mm ammunition and a spent 9mm cartridge was located in the chamber, indicating the gun had been fired but had jammed after a round was discharged.

A federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Miller with possession of a firearm by a felon in connection with the May 26, 2020, incident. U.S. District Judge James E. Shadid sentenced Miller to 69 months’ imprisonment on that charge.

At the time of that offense, Miller also was on federal supervised release in the Central District of Illinois for the offense of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. A petition to revoke Miller’s supervised release was filed May 28, 2020, alleging possession of the .40 caliber handgun on May 26, 2020, as well as a separate instance of possession of a Glock 9mm handgun on May 16, 2020. With regard to revocation of supervised release, Miller was sentenced to a term of 36 months’ imprisonment, 12 months of which were ordered to be served consecutive to his 69-month sentence for possessing a gun on May 26, 2020.

Miller was indicted in the present case in June 2020 and entered a guilty plea in January 2022. He has remained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals pending sentencing. While detained in Woodford County awaiting disposition in the federal case, Miller assaulted another inmate and was charged with aggravated battery in April 2021. Miller pleaded guilty to those charges in July 2021 and was sentenced to 3 years and 6 months imprisonment, followed by 1 year of supervised release. Judge Shadid ordered that his aggregate federal sentence run consecutive to that state sentence.

The statutory penalties for possession of a firearm by a felon are up to 10 years’ imprisonment, up to a $250,000 fine, and up to three years of supervised release.

The Peoria Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald L. Hanna represented the government in the prosecution.

The case against Miller was brought as part of The Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative. The Department’s renewed commitment to Project Safe Neighborhoods establishes four fundamental principles to guide efforts to reduce violent crime: 1) build trust and legitimacy within communities; 2) invest in community-based prevention and intervention programs; 3) target enforcement and priorities to focus resources on identifying, investigating, and prosecuting the most significant drivers of gun violence and other violent crime; and, 4) measure results with the goal to reduce the level of violence in our communities and not to increase the number of arrests and prosecutions as if they were ends in themselves.