U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
Western District of Michigan
5th Floor, The Law Building
330 Ionia Avenue, NW
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503
Fax: (616) 456-2408
For Immediate Release
March 23, 2009
Donald A. Davis, United States Attorney
Contact: Christopher M. O’Connor
Assistant U.S. Attorney
Battle Creek Resident Sentenced to 110 Months in Prison for Providing the Shotgun Used to Murder Battle Creek Police Detective Lavern Brann
GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan — Jack William Sherman, age 24, of Battle Creek was sentenced to 110 months in federal prison for his conviction of selling or otherwise disposing of a firearm to a felon, U.S. Attorney Donald A. Davis announced today. In addition to his prison sentence, the Hon. Paul L. Maloney, Chief U.S. District Judge, ordered Sherman to serve three years of supervised release. Mr. Davis was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charge Thomas E. Brandon, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”).
The information presented to the court at the time of Sherman’s guilty plea established that, in April 2005, Sherman provided Genail Quincy Postley, Jr. with a Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun knowing that Postley was a convicted felon. Sherman admitted that he gave Postley the shotgun to help him “hustle,” which Sherman described as selling drugs or making money in other ways. Shortly thereafter, on May 9, 2005, Postley used the shotgun to kill Battle Creek Police Detective LaVern Brann and wound Detective Greg Huggett when the detectives sought to question Postley about a murder of a taxi driver. Postley fled the area, leading law enforcement on a statewide manhunt until he was arrested in Dearborn, Michigan, on May 10, 2005. ATF agents were able to trace the shotgun to Sherman’s grandparents, which provided law enforcement with valuable information concerning Sherman’s arming of Postley shortly before the fatal shooting. Postley was convicted in 2007 of murdering Detective Brann, and later pled no contest to the murder of the taxi driver.
U.S. Attorney Davis said,
This case is a tragic reminder of the vital importance of keeping legal firearms out of the hands of convicted felons. The ATF and the United States Attorney’s Office will vigorously investigate and pursue any individual who knowingly provides a felon with a firearm. When someone arms a criminal with a weapon, the entire community is put in danger. Anyone who provides a known felon with a firearm or who buys a firearm for a criminal as a ‘straw purchaser’ faces a stiff penalty of up to ten years in federal prison. Mr. Davis commended the extraordinary efforts of the numerous federal, state, and local agencies that participated in the investigation of this tragic shooting, including the ATF Grand Rapids Field Office and the Battle Creek Police Department.
Special Agent in Charge Brandon stated,
ATF’s number one mission is to reduce violent crime; and in this case, I believe we did just that. The significant sentence imposed this afternoon proves that the Project Safe Neighborhoods partnership works to target not only the most violent criminals but also the suppliers of firearms to those violent criminals.
The successful prosecution of Sherman was brought as part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods (“PSN”) initiative. PSN links federal, state, and local law enforcement in a coordinated effort to deter gun violence and prosecute serious gun crimes in federal court. Citizens with information concerning illegal guns, gangs with guns, armed drug trafficking or the trafficking of illegal guns are encouraged to call 1-800-ATF-GUNS. Callers can remain anonymous. This number is managed and answered by federal law enforcement officials who work directly with local police departments.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Phillip J. Green and Christopher M. O’Connor.