DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Northern District of Iowa

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Kevin W. Techau
, United States Attorney
Contact: Steve Young

Mason City Man Who Traded His Dog for a Gun to Shoot His Son Sentenced to over 21 Years in Prison for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Felon

A man who possessed a firearm after having been convicted of a felony offense was sentenced today to more than 21 years in federal prison.

Billy Douglas Thorne, 58, from Mason City, Iowa, received the prison term after an April 17, 2014, jury verdict finding him guilty of one count of possession of a firearm by a felon. 
The evidence at trial showed that on July 24, 2012, Thorne traded his dog for a .22 caliber rifle which he intended to use to shoot his son.  Fearing that police would arrive and find the gun in his residence, Thorne had others hide the gun in a Mason City park.  After Thorne was arrested on harassment charges, the gun was turned over to the police.  Thorne had previously been convicted in 1997 in the State of Florida of five counts of Burglary of a Dwelling and one count of Armed Burglary, all felony offenses.
Thorne was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade.  Thorne was found to be an Armed Career Criminal and sentenced to 262 months’ imprisonment.  A special assessment of $100 was imposed.  He must also serve a five-year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.  Thorne is being held in the United States Marshal’s custody until he can be transported to a federal prison.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Daniel C. Tvedt and investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Ankeny Police Department, and the Mason City Police Department. 
Court file information is available at  The case file number is 13-CR-3052.

Kansas City Field Division