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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Maine
Darcie N. McElwee., United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Federal Jury Convicts South Portland Man of Possessing a Firearm After Conviction for Assaulting His Wife

Willie Richard Minor Was Prohibited From Possessing Firearms Under Federal Law Following Misdemeanor Domestic Violence Conviction

PORTLAND, Maine: A South Portland man was found guilty yesterday of possessing a firearm after being convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence following a two-day trial in U.S. District Court in Portland.

According to court records and evidence presented at trial, in June 2010, Willie Richard Minor, 63, formerly of Auburn, was convicted in Maine Superior Court of assaulting his then-wife. As a result of that conviction, Minor was prohibited by federal law from possessing firearms and ammunition. In November 2016, Minor admitted to having a gun in an interview with the Auburn Police Department. The police recovered the gun from his apartment in Auburn.

Minor was originally convicted and sentenced on the federal charge after a trial in December 2017. While the case was pending on appeal, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a decision, Rehaif v. United States, that changed what the government is required to prove in certain federal firearm possession cases. As a result, the parties agreed to have the original conviction vacated, and the case was remanded for a new trial. Minor was again convicted after a trial in February 2020, and in September 2020, he was sentenced to time served and three years of supervised release.

In March 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit found that the jury had been incorrectly instructed in Minor’s second trial. The Court of Appeals clarified what the government is required to prove under the Supreme Court’s Rehaif decision. The case then proceeded to trial for a third time.

“This case was particularly important because the new jury instructions given here provide clarity for our future pursuit of such prosecutions against former domestic abusers who illegally possess firearms across Maine,” said U.S. Attorney Darcie N. McElwee. “Those convicted of abusing their loved ones should understand that illegal gun possession will not be tolerated in Maine.”

Minor will be sentenced after the completion of a presentence investigation report by the U.S. Probation Office. A federal district judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The Auburn Police Department; the Maine State Police Crime Laboratory; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and the FBI investigated the case. The Mechanic Falls Police Department investigated Minor’s earlier assault case.



Lindsay Feinberg or Nicholas Heimbach, Assistant United States Attorneys (207-780-3257)

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