U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
District of Minnesota
District of Minnesota
For Immediate Release
January 14, 2013
B. Todd Jones, United States Attorney
Contact: Jeanne F. Cooney, Director of Community Relations
Felon From Aurora, Minnesota, Sentenced for Possessing a 20-Gauge Shotgun
MINNEAPOLIS – Earlier today in federal court, a 34-year-old felon from the northeastern Minnesota community of Aurora was sentenced for possessing a 20-gauge shotgun. United States District Court Judge Patrick J. Schiltz sentenced John Joseph Douglas to 240 months in federal prison on one count of being an armed career criminal in possession of a firearm. Douglas was indicted on this charge on October 4, 2011, and convicted on February 10, 2012, following trial.
The evidence presented at trial proved that on May 30, 2011, Douglas possessed the gun and, while surrounded by a group of people, fired it into the air several times. Upon their arrival on the scene, officers found the people seated around a campfire in a vacant lot. Searching the grounds, the officers discovered a box of ammunition and several freshly fired shotgun shell casings. They found the sawed-off shotgun itself nearby.
Because Douglas was previously convicted of a felony, he was prohibited under federal law from possessing firearms at any time. His prior convictions include third-degree burglary (1999), first-degree burglary (1999), second-degree assault (1999 and 2007), and aggravated robbery (twice in 1999), all of which occurred in St. Louis County. Since each of those offenses constituted crimes of violence, Douglas's sentence in the current federal case was subject to the federal armed career criminal statute, which mandates a minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison. Since the federal criminal justice system does not have parole, Douglas will serve virtually his entire sentence behind bars.
This case was the result of an investigation by the St. Louis County Sheriff‘s Office, the Hoyt Lakes Police Department, the Gilbert Police Department, and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew Dunne and Jeffrey M. Bryan.