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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

January 28, 2010

A. Brian Albritton, United States Attorney

Contact: Steve Cole

(813) 274-6136

(813) 274-6300 (fax)

Pasco Man Pleads Guilty to Murder-for-Hire Scheme, Firearms Offenses

Tampa, Florida — United States Attorney A. Brian Albritton announces that Joseph Lee Musson (age 33, of Hudson) pleaded guilty today to using interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire, carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, and possessing a firearm after having been convicted of a felony. Musson faces a maximum penalty of life in federal prison.

According to the plea documents, between August 1, 2009, and September 17, 2009, Musson agreed to pay another individual to murder Robert Shane Ballard. During that offense, Musson, a convicted felon, used or carried a firearm in furtherance of the murder-for-hire scheme. Musson previously had been convicted in Pasco County Circuit Court of possession of marijuana with intent to sell, trafficking in MDMA, and two counts of sale of a controlled substance within 1000 feet of a business.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, and the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jeffrey S. Downing.