Elizabeth City man sentenced to 90 months for firearm offense

Published 3:51 pm Sunday, February 28, 2021

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Stephon Ellis, 33, of Elizabeth City was sentenced February 3 to 90 months in prison for possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. Ellis’s six prior state felony convictions include attempted robbery, breaking and entering and possession with intent to sell or deliver heroin, according to a press release from the Department of Justice, Eastern District of North Carolina.

According to court documents and statements made in court, on January 21, 2020, at around 1 p.m., the Elizabeth City Police Department was dispatched to a car crash in a residential area of Elizabeth City. Officers identified the driver as the defendant Stephon Ellis. After clipping the rear of a parked car, Ellis had turned onto a side street, where he ran into a fence and another parked car before coming to rest. Ellis later admitted that he had been under the influence of Xanax, stated the press release.

“As the officers investigated, a witness informed them that Ellis had placed a firearm in the back-seat area of the car after the crash. Officers recovered a Taurus model PT940 .40 caliber handgun in the seat pocket behind the driver’s seat.  It was fully loaded with a round in the chamber,” stated the release.

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This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make neighborhoods safer for everyone. Since 2017, the United States Department of Justice has reinvigorated the PSN program and has targeted violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

The effort has been implemented through the Take Back North Carolina Initiative of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina.  This initiative emphasizes the regional assignment of federal prosecutors to work with law enforcement and District Attorney’s Offices in those communities on a sustained basis to reduce the violent crime rate, drug trafficking and crimes against law enforcement.

Robert J. Higdon Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge James C. Dever III. The Elizabeth City Police Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jake D. Pugh prosecuted the case.