DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Southern District of Alabama

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, December 15, 2020
Richard W. Moore
, United States Attorney

Selma Resident Convicted at Trial for Being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm

United States Attorney Richard W. Moore of the Southern District of Alabama announces that on December 3, 2020, a federal jury in Mobile, Alabama found defendant Daniel Marcellas Houston, 45, of Selma, Alabama, guilty for being a felon in possession of a firearm. United States District Judge Jeffrey U. Beaverstock presided over the trial, which started on December 2, 2020 and ended the following day. Houston is scheduled to be sentenced on March 8, 2021. He faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

On January 30, 2020, a federal grand jury for the Southern District of Alabama indicted Houston on one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). Federal law prohibits convicted felons from knowingly possessing a firearm or ammunition.

The jury heard the below evidence at Houston’s trial. The evening of October 2, 2019, investigators from numerous law enforcement agencies in the Selma, Alabama area were searching for several juvenile inmates who had escaped from the Dallas County Jail. Dallas County Sheriff’s Department Captain Johnathan Cole was driving on Highway 14 near the jail looking for the escapees when he saw a red Mazda truck parked near the middle of the highway at the intersection of Highway 14 East and Race Street. Concerned that the truck was impeding traffic, Cole activated his lights to initiate a traffic stop. The Mazda truck drove a short distance to a nearby driveway and pulled over. Houston, a convicted felon, was the truck’s driver and sole occupant.

Cole asked Houston for his identification and registration. Houston had neither and gave his name with a muffled voice. Cole asked Houston to open his mouth, from which Houston pulled out a bag of marijuana. Cole ordered Houston to place the marijuana on top of the truck and then asked Houston whether he had any weapons in his vehicle. Houston said, “Yes, it is right here” and motioned to the center console area immediately adjacent to where he was sitting.

Alabama Attorney General’s Office Special Agent Susan Smith arrived on scene to assist Cole and approached the passenger side of Houston’s truck. For officer safety, Cole and Smith repeatedly instructed Houston not to reach for the weapon. When it appeared that Houston might not comply, Smith asked Houston whether she could retrieve the gun instead. Houston indicated yes. Smith reached across the passenger seat and recovered a loaded Taurus 9mm pistol from the center console area.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department, and the Alabama Attorney General’s Office investigated the case. Assistant United States Attorneys Sinan Kalayoglu and Andrew D. Arrington are prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Alabama at http://www.justice.gov/usao/als/.

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Nashville Field Division