DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Vermont

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Tristram J. Coffin
, United States Attorney
Contact: Public Affairs Office

Denzel Watson and Jessica Elder Sentenced for Attempted Straw Purchase of a Firearm

The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that Denzel Watson of Brooklyn, New York was sentenced today for aiding and abetting the making of false statements in the attempted acquisition of a firearm. Chief United States District Judge Christina Reiss, sitting in Burlington, sentenced Watson to a four-month term of imprisonment, to be followed by two years of supervised release, which includes four months of location monitoring. According to court documents, on February 20, 2013, ATF agents responded to the Powderhorn gun shop in Williston after receiving a report of a straw purchase in progress. It is a violation of federal law for an individual prohibited from purchasing a firearm to have another purchase the firearm for him. Upon responding to the scene, agents learned that Jessica Elder of Colchester was inside the store attempting to buy a .357 caliber handgun while another individual sat in a car in the adjacent parking lot. Agents approached Elder and the waiting individual, Denzel Watson, when Elder returned to the vehicle. Subsequent investigation revealed that Watson had provided Elder with over $300 to purchase him the gun at Powderhorn. Due to law enforcement intervention, Watson and Elder were unable to complete the firearm transaction. One month after his encounter with ATF agents in Vermont, the New York City Police Department arrested Watson and charged him with attempted criminal possession of a weapon in connection with his possession of a firearm in Brooklyn. Watson sustained a misdemeanor conviction in connection with his New York case. On June 17, 2014, Chief Judge Reiss sentenced Elder to a time-served sentence of approximately six months and three weeks, to be followed by two years of supervised release. This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin J. Doyle handled the case for the government. Defense counsel is David F. Kidney of Rubin, Kidney, Myer & Vincent in Barre.
Boston Field Division