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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Middle District of Georgia
Peter D. Leary, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Middle Georgia Man With Prior Voluntary Manslaughter Conviction Sentenced to Prison on Gun Charge

MACON, Ga. – A Macon resident who was previously convicted and sentenced to ten years imprisonment for voluntary manslaughter was sentenced to federal prison after he was caught trying to sell a firearm and ammunition in the community.

Jeffery Maurice Willis, 45, of Macon, was sentenced to serve 33 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release by U.S. District Judge Marc Treadwell on March 7 after he previously pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. There is no parole in the federal system.

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office is holding individuals with prior violent felonies accountable at the federal level when they are caught with firearms,” said U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary. “Working with law enforcement, we are using every resource available to protect our communities from the threat of firearms in the hands of criminals.”

“ATF will continue to dedicate federal resources in conjunction with crucial federal and local law enforcement partners to the pursuit of eradicating and forestalling criminal activity in the communities we serve,” said ATF Assistant Special Agent in Charge Beau Kolodka.

“This case is an example of how a felony conviction for a violent crime as a young adult will carry federal consequences when that individual chooses to illegally take up a firearm later in life,” said Bibb County Sheriff David Davis.

According to facts entered in court, ATF agents conducted several controlled buys of firearms and ammunitions in May 2021 as part of a larger investigation into gun trafficking and drug distribution in Macon and the surrounding areas. ATF agents observed and recorded Willis sell a .44 revolver and five rounds of ammunition in Macon on May 6, 2021. Willis was previously convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the Superior Court of Bibb County, Georgia, in 1997. It is illegal for a convicted felon to possess a firearm.

This case is the result of Operation United Front, an ongoing ATF-led investigation into illegal gun possession and drug distribution in Middle Georgia utilizing the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN).

This case is being prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, 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.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Will Keyes prosecuted the case.

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