For Immediate Release
Wednesday, September 7, 2016
, United States Attorney
Benjamin C. Glassman
Contact: Fred Alverson
Harrison County Man Pleads Guilty to Using Machine Gun During Robbery in Freeport, Ohio
Columbus Field Division
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Nicholas T. Billman, 20, of Flushing, Ohio, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court here today to brandishing a machine gun while he robbed a general store in Freeport, Ohio on October 22, 2015.
Benjamin C. Glassman, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Brad Earman, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and Harrison County Sheriff Ronald J. Myers announced the plea entered today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Terence P. Kemp.
Billman pleaded guilty to one count of robbery of a business that is engaged in interstate commerce and one count of carrying and brandishing a machine gun during a crime of violence.
Testimony during the plea hearing confirmed that Billman entered the Hilltop General Store brandishing an AK-47 type rifle. Billman wore a handgun holstered on his right hip and a sheathed knife on his left hip. Billman robbed the store of cash and cigarettes then fled. A witness followed Billman but stopped after Billman fired three shots toward him.
Acting on information received from the public and other witnesses, investigators obtained a warrant and searched Billman’s residence two days later. They found an AK-47 similar to the one used in the robbery as well as other firearms and evidence indicating that Billman had committed the crimes. Forensic tests determined that the weapon was fully automatic. Sheriff’s deputies arrested Billman on state charges, then contacted ATF to pursue federal charges. A federal grand jury indicted Billman in February 2016. He has been in custody since sheriff’s deputies arrested him.
The plea agreement calls for a sentence of 25 years in prison, followed by five years of court supervision. Senior U.S. District Judge James L. Graham will review the terms of the plea agreement and schedule a date for sentencing, if the court accepts the terms.
"We appreciate the partnership with Harrison County law enforcement and the ATF agents who investigated this crime," Acting U.S. Attorney Glassman said. "Violent crime touches all of the 48 counties in our district and we must be united to punish such crimes most effectively."
Acting U.S. Attorney Glassman commended Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Prichard, who represents the U.S. in this case.