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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Eastern District of Missouri

For Immediate Release

May 23, 2011

Keith D. Sorrell, United States Attorney

Poplar Bluff Man Sentenced to 262 Months for Unlawful Possession of Firearms

The United States Attorney’s Office announced today that a Poplar Bluff, Missouri man was sentenced to 262 months on one felony count of being a previously convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

LEO SLAUGHTER, age 60, appeared before United States District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh, Jr.

Slaughter was convicted following a jury trial held on February 22, 2011. The trial testimony established the following facts.

On January 19, 2010, at around 4:18 a.m., the Poplar Bluff Police Department was alerted to a burglar alarm going off in the 303 Package Store in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. The officers responded to the location of the store at 303 South Main Street. The 303 Package store sells alcohol, firearms, ammunition and other items. The store was closed when the alarm sounded.

Officers responded within a few minutes of hearing the alarm, as the store is only a few blocks from the police station. When Officer Stewart arrived on the scene, he discovered a large concrete block, cigarettes and a hat lying in front of a door to the store. Entry to the store had been made at another location by a person going through the top portion of a plexiglass door. Once the person was inside the store, they removed a lock bar from a rifle display. Several rifles were on the floor. A later inventory determined that two rifles were missing from the display case. Several packs of cigarettes were also on the floor of the store. It appeared that the burglar had taken several packs of Kool and Sonoma cigarettes.

Officer Stewart drove from Main Street to Broadway looking for anyone who might be connected to the burglary. He observed a person walking toward Main Street while they were on the parking lot south of the 400 block of South Broadway Street. Stewart stopped his patrol car and began to back up to make contact with this person. He noticed that the person was wearing dark clothing, glasses and a sock hat. The person who was walking then ran away from the officer, traveling on the east side of Main Street just south of the 303 Package store. Stewart and other officers began searching the area for this person.

A few minutes later, Stewart drove onto Broadway Street from South Main. As he did so, he saw a black Chevrolet SUV pull out of a parking space in front of 400 South Broadway and travel north. The officer noticed that the driver was wearing glasses and a sock hat. Stewart attempted to stop the vehicle. The driver of the vehicle fled, running stop signs and failing to signal turns, and speeding down several streets until it reached Bartlett Street. At that location, the driver jumped out of the still-moving vehicle and fled on foot. Officer Stewart gave chase on foot and caught the driver, who was later identified as Leo Slaughter. Mr. Slaughter was secured and taken to the police station. The officer looked into the black Chevrolet vehicle. He noticed two long guns inside the vehicle. The officers obtained a state search warrant to search the vehicle, which had been impounded. Inside the vehicle, the officers found two firearms, described as a Marlin, .30–30 rifle, bearing serial number 92037821, and a Howa, .308 caliber rifle, bearing serial number B148214. The officers also found packs of Kool and Sonoma cigarettes, a wallet, a set of Missouri vehicle license plates and a crow bar, along with the two rifles.

Due to Mr. Slaughter’s previous felony convictions for crimes such as assault, robbery, arson and burglary, he is prohibited from possessing firearms. The Poplar Bluff Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated this case. Assistant United States Attorney Keith D. Sorrell handled the prosecution for the Government.