North Carolina man sentenced to nine years in prison for firearm charge

Published 5:19 pm Sunday, May 30, 2021

A Wilmington man was sentenced May 21 to 108 months in prison and three years of supervised release for being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to a press release from the Department of Justice, Eastern District of North Carolina. Harold Davon Leonard pleaded guilty to the charges on February 18, 2021.

According to court documents and other information presented in court, Leonard, 34, was the passenger in a vehicle that was stopped on December 25, 2019. “While a Wilmington Police Department officer was with the driver, a second officer saw Leonard jump into the driver seat and attempt to put the vehicle in gear,” stated the release. “When Leonard was ordered to exit the vehicle, he tried to push the officer and flee on foot. A struggle ensued and Leonard was ultimately detained.

“During the struggle, a vial containing more than 13 grams of phencyclidine (PCP) fell from Leonard’s pocket. Following his arrest, a loaded 9mm handgun that had previously been reported as stolen was found under the passenger seat,” the release continued. “At the time of the offense, Leonard had more than 20 prior criminal convictions, including 11 prior felony convictions, and was on active parole after having been released only 10 months earlier.”

G. Norman Acker III, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, made the announcement after sentencing by Chief U.S. District Judge Richard E. Myers II. The Wilmington office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Wilmington Police Department  investigated the case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan Stephany prosecuted.

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 our neighborhoods safer for everyone,” stated the release. “The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina implements the PSN Program through its Take Back North Carolina Initiative. This initiative emphasizes the regional assignment of federal prosecutors to work with law enforcement and District Attorney’s Offices on a sustained basis in those communities to reduce the violent crime rate, drug trafficking, and crimes against law enforcement.”

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