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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Northern District of Iowa
Timothy T. Duax, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Thursday, January 25, 2024

Mason City Man Who Threatened to Kill Woman With a Shotgun Sentenced to 10 Years’ Imprisonment for Possession of Firearm by a Felon

Fitzgerald Had 13 Prior Assault Convictions

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — A Mason City, Iowa, man who pointed a shotgun at a woman and threatened to kill her, was sentenced today, Jan. 25, to 10 years in federal prison.

Joseph Fitzgerald, 64, from Mason City, Iowa, received the prison term after a Sept. 11, 2023, guilty plea to one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and domestic misdemeanant.

Evidence in the case revealed that on Nov. 23, 2022, Fitzgerald pointed a shotgun at a woman he resided with, who was disabled, and threatened to kill her. The woman was able to call 911. When officers arrived on scene, Fitzgerald initially refused to let officers enter the home, but they were eventually able to make contact with the woman, who was still upset by the interaction. Fitzgerald has a lengthy criminal history, including convictions for domestic violence, illegal drugs and burglary. Notably, Fitzgerald also had 8 driving while intoxicated convictions and 13 assault convictions. 

Fitzgerald was sentenced in Sioux City by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Leonard T. Strand to 120 months’ imprisonment. He must also serve a three-year term of supervised release after the prison term. There is no parole in the federal system.

Fitzgerald is being held in U.S. Marshals custody until he can be transported to a federal prison.

The case was investigated by the Mason City, Iowa, Police Department and ATF, and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ron Timmons. 

Court file information at

The case file number is 23-3009.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN). PSN is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

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