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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Western District of Missouri
Teresa A. Moore, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Friday, July 1, 2022

West Plains Man Sentenced for Illegal Firearm

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A West Plains man has been sentenced in federal court for illegally possessing a sawed-off shotgun, which was found in one of the two vehicles he stole within a week of each other.

Michael Bryant, 33, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Brian C. Wimes on Tuesday, June 28, to eight years in federal prison without parole.

On Nov. 18, 2021, Bryant pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm.

A Howell County, Mo., sheriff’s deputy located a stolen Mazda Miata in a trailer park located on County Road 6540 on Oct. 23, 2019. As the deputy was about to search the trailer, he heard glass break and saw Bryant jump out of the back window of the trailer. The deputy chased him until he injured his leg and Bryant was able to escape.

Another deputy arrived and searched the stolen vehicle. The deputy found a loaded Harrington and Richardson 12-gauge sawed-off shotgun wedged between the driver’s side door and seat.

On Oct. 28, 2019, an individual called the Howell County Sheriff’s Department to report that a vehicle was stuck on a rock near the driveway of her rental property. Deputies arrived at the location and found an extensively damaged Chevrolet Silverado stuck on some rocks. The truck’s license plate was registered to another vehicle. Deputies learned that Bryant, who had a number of outstanding arrest warrants, had been operating the truck earlier in the day.

The deputies knocked on the door of a nearby residence. They were told that Bryant was no longer there, but refused permission to enter the residence to search for him. While the investigators began preparing a warrant to search the home, Bryant came out of the residence and was taken into custody.

Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition. Bryant has prior felony convictions for tampering with a motor vehicle, stealing, resisting arrest, and possession of a controlled substance.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James J. Kelleher. It was investigated by the Howell County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, the West Plains, Mo., Police Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Project Safe Neighborhoods

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), 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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