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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Northern District of Alabama
Prim F. Escalona, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Thursday, August 25, 2022

Ten-Time Convicted Felon Sentenced for Illegal Firearm Possession

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – A federal judge this week sentenced a convicted felon for illegally possessing firearms on separate occasions, announced U.S. Attorney Prim F. Escalona and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Special Agent in Charge Mickey French.

United States District Judge Annemarie Carney Axon sentenced Richard Alexander Coleman, of Bessemer, to 73 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for being a felon in possession of a firearm on two occasions in 2021. Coleman pleaded guilty to the charges in May 2022.

According to court documents, on January 14, 2021, Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputies stopped Coleman’s vehicle because it had an obscured tag. After smelling marijuana coming from the vehicle and learning that Coleman had an outstanding warrant, deputies arrested him. During a search of the vehicle, a deputy retrieved a prescription pill in the front seat area and from under the driver’s seat, a loaded 9 millimeter pistol and a bag of marijuana.

After Coleman made bond for state charges related to the January 14th traffic stop, Gardendale police officers encountered Coleman on a March 21, 2021, during a domestic disturbance call at an apartment complex. While investigating the incident, an officer saw a pistol in plain view in the front seat of Coleman’s vehicle. After Coleman was given a trespass warning for the property, officers retrieved the 9 millimeter pistol and arrested him for not having a pistol permit. Officers found a small amount of marijuana, 24 Xanax pills, and six counterfeit $100 bills in Coleman’s pockets.

Prior to the above arrests, Coleman incurred ten felony convictions: two for Theft of Property, Second Degree; one for Burglary, Third Degree; two for Theft of Property, First Degree; two for Unlawful Breaking and Entering a Vehicle; two for Identity Theft; and one for Receiving Stolen Property, Third Degree.

“This defendant is a prime example of the effectiveness of using federal firearms laws to remove habitual offenders from our streets,” said U.S. Attorney Escalona. “He now has six years to think about whether he’ll pick up another firearm.”

“This individual is another example of a person who repeatedly and intentionally violates local, state and federal laws,” said SAC French. “The ATF will continue to work diligently with our local, state and federal partners to remove these individuals from the communities that we serve and protect in order to create safer environments.”

ATF investigated the case along with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and the Gardendale Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan Baty prosecuted the case.

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