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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Northern District of Iowa

For Immediate Release

November 7, 2012

Sean R. Berry, United States Attorney

Contact: Peter Deegan
(319) 363-6333

Mount Vernon Man Sentenced to Serve 70 Years Imprisonment for Murder for Hire and Gun Crimes

A man who pled guilty to a firearms offense and later tried to kill the Mount Vernon, Iowa, Chief of Police to prevent his testimony at a federal sentencing hearing was sentenced today to 70 years in prison.

Lorenzo Harris-Thompson, 30, from Mt. Vernon, pled guilty on July 25, 2011, to possession of a firearm as an unlawful user of marijuana and was convicted by a jury on June 28, 2012, of one count of attempted obstruction of justice, one count of attempted murder of a person to prevent him from testifying in federal court, and one count of using a telephone to conduct a murder for hire.

The evidence at trial showed Harris-Thompson‘s house was searched by the Mount Vernon Police Department on September 8, 2010. During the search, officers recovered evidence leading to Harris-Thompson‘s arrest for being a marijuana user in possession of a firearm. Harris-Thompson pled guilty to the firearms offense and was scheduled for sentencing on November 22, 2011. Shortly before his scheduled federal sentencing for the firearms offense, Harris-Thompson had another person find out the name of the Mount Vernon Chief of Police, and subsequently had that person make a payment to an undercover officer portraying himself to be a contract killer. Harris- Thompson made all the arrangements to commit these crimes from his jail cell in Iowa County, where he was being held by the US Marshal's Service.

Harris-Thompson was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade. Harris-Thompson was sentenced in his firearms possession case to 120 months‘ imprisonment. A special assessment of $100 was imposed. He must also serve a three-year term of supervised release after the prison term. Harris-Thompson was sentenced in his attempted murder case to 720 months‘ (60 years) imprisonment to be served consecutive to the firearms for a total sentence of 70 years imprisonment. A special assessment of $300 was imposed. He must also serve a five-year term of supervised release after the prison term. There is no parole in the federal system.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Patrick J. Reinert and investigated by Federal Bureau of Investigation, Iowa County Sheriff‘s Office with the assistance of the Cedar Rapids Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force comprised of the DEA; the Linn County Sheriff‘s Office; the Cedar Rapids Police Department; the Marion Police Department; the Iowa City Police Department; the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; and the Sixth Judicial District Department of Correctional Services.

Court file information is available at

The case file numbers are 11-55 (1) and 12-cr-10.