Last July two inmates escaped from a minimum-security prison in Wisconsin and embarked on an alleged crime spree that ended with their arrests in Florida. The two men, ages 19 and 29, now face multiple felony charges including armed robbery and kidnapping.
The alleged spree began last July when the pair slipped away from the Black River Correctional Facility in Wisconsin. According to prosecutors’ allegations, they stole a shotgun, which they used to steal a woman’s car and kidnap the woman. After they abandoned the woman and her car in Sparta, Wisconsin they allegedly stole several more vehicles as they made their way south across the country. In the course of their spree they allegedly got away from police in a high-speed chase. Several days later they allegedly beat a store clerk. Following another police chase, they were finally arrested.
The two men face charges in Wisconsin and Florida. The 29-year-old man faces a trial in state court in Broward County in March. He faces multiple charges including fleeing and grand theft auto. Both men also face multiple felony charges in Wisconsin.
The 19-year-old man pleaded guilty in federal court on January 30 to felony possession of a weapon. According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, the man could qualify as a career armed criminal, which would get him a 15-year minimum prison sentence on the weapons charge alone. He is scheduled for sentencing in April.
Being a felon in possession of a weapon is an extremely serious charge, whether it is prosecuted in state or federal court. If the weapon crossed state lines, then the case may be prosecuted in federal court, as it was in this case.
Anyone with a previous felony conviction is prohibited by state and federal law from being in possession of a firearm. However, a person who has a felony conviction on their record can sometimes have that conviction removed through a legal expungement process.
Source: Jackson County Chronicle, “Ex-fugitive pleads to federal gun charge,” Kevin Murphy, Feb. 6, 2013