St. Petersburg Armed Career Criminal Found Guilty Of Possessing Firearm

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

Tampa, FL – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that a federal jury has found Aunyis Cherry (27, St. Petersburg), an Armed Career Criminal, guilty of possessing a firearm and ammunition as convicted felon. Cherry faces a minimum mandatory penalty of 15 years, and up to life, in federal prison. A sentencing hearing has not yet been set. Cherry had been indicted on May 27, 2021.

According to testimony and evidence presented at trial, Cherry drove a vehicle with a counterfeit license plate in the area of 14th Street South in St. Petersburg. A uniformed detective from the St. Petersburg Police Department arrived to conduct a stop. Cherry fled from the car but was apprehended. The vehicle’s owner couldn’t be determined, and an inventory search revealed a fully loaded FN Herstal pistol. The jury heard testimony that Cherry’s DNA was located in three places on the firearm, including the handle and trigger. As a previously convicted felon, Cherry is prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition under federal law.

This case was investigated by the St. Petersburg Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Mike Gordon and Craig Gestring. The trial was conducted by Assistant United States Attorneys Samantha Beckman and Jim Preston.

This case is being prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, 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.