For Immediate Release
Thursday, September 15, 2016
, United States Attorney
A. Lee Bentley, III
Contact: William Daniels
Federal Jury Finds Zephyrhills Felon Guilty of Possessing a Firearm
Field Division: Tampa Field Division
Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that a federal jury found Robert William Barton (43, Zephyrhills) guilty of possessing a firearm and ammunition as a convicted felon. He faces a minimum mandatory penalty of 15 years, up to life, in federal prison. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for January 20, 2017.
According to evidence presented at trial, on August 5, 2014, law enforcement officers pulled Barton and two passengers over after identifying the license plate on the vehicle as stolen. A search of the car revealed a loaded .22 caliber revolver under the passenger seat. Barton initially confessed to possessing the gun, but later claimed it belonged to someone else. Subsequent DNA testing linked the firearm to Barton.
Barton has prior felony convictions for aggravated battery and burglary, as well as three prior felony convictions for robbery, and is therefore prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition under federal law.
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael V. Leeman.
This is another case prosecuted as a part of the Department of Justice’s “Project Safe Neighborhoods” Program - a nationwide, gun-violence reduction strategy. United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III, along with Daryl R. McCrary, Special Agent in Charge, ATF, is coordinating the Project Safe Neighborhoods effort here in the Middle District of Florida in cooperation with federal, state, and local law enforcement officials. It is also a part of ATF’s Frontline strategy to reduce violent crime in our communities.