For Immediate Release
Rockford Man Sentenced to 8 Years and 7 Months in Federal Prison on Firearm Charge
According to the written plea agreement, on July 18, 2016, Newton was a passenger in a vehicle driven by another individual on the way to a convenience store on the west side of Rockford. When the other individual went into the store, a blue minivan pulled in the store’s parking lot and fired several shots at Newton while he was in the car. Newton grabbed a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol, got out of the car with the gun in hand and ran away. The minivan left and shortly thereafter Newton returned to the parking lot and got back in the passenger side of the vehicle. The other individual got back in the vehicle and drove to his residence with Newton, where Newton took the pistol inside and hid it in the basement. The pistol was later located and seized by officers with the Rockford Police Department.
The defendant was originally charged in state court, and was transferred to federal court where he was charged under tough federal firearms laws as part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods program. Project Safe Neighborhoods is an intensive, cooperative effort between local, state, and federal law enforcement to attack gun crimes. The cornerstone of the program is that every defendant committing an offense involving a gun will be reviewed for possible federal prosecution in order to obtain the harshest penalties for the worst offenders. Additional information about Project Safe Neighborhoods may be found at https://www.bja.gov/programdetails.aspx?program_id=74.
The sentencing was announced by Joel R. Levin, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Celinez Nunez, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives; Joseph Bruscato, Winnebago County State’s Attorney; and Dan O’Shea, Chief of the Rockford Police Department.
The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph C. Pedersen.