Memphis, TN – Levester Grayer, 42, has been sentenced to 235 months in federal prison for being an armed career criminal in possession of a firearm and possession of a controlled substance. D. Michael Dunavant, U.S. Attorney announced the sentence today.
According to the information presented in court, on October 3, 2016, Memphis Police Department dispatch received a call that Grayer, an individual wanted for outstanding warrants, was at the Corner Grocery in Memphis. Officers found him at that location and arrested him as he got into his car. As law enforcement searched the car they found 4 plastic bags containing crack cocaine, a small amount of marijuana and a loaded Tanfoglio 10mm caliber pistol. Grayer waived his Miranda rights and admitted to possessing the drugs and the firearm.
The United States charged Grayer with being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession of a controlled substance. On February 21, 2017, Grayer pleaded not guilty. On May 21, 2019, the case proceeded to trial, where he was convicted by a federal jury. His behavior at trial was so disruptive in the courtroom that the judge admonished the defendant numerous times, and he was ultimately ordered removed from the courtroom in handcuffs.
Grayer had 14 prior felony convictions, 11 of which were violent felonies, including kidnapping, aggravated assault and robbery. He also had two prior felony convictions for selling drugs and had been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence at the time of his possession of the drugs and the possession of the firearm.
On July 23, 2020, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas L. Parker sentenced Grayer to 235 months in federal prison followed by 3 years of supervised release. At sentencing, Grayer was deemed to be an armed career criminal, which carries a 15 year mandatory minimum prison sentence. There is no parole in the federal system.
U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said, “Convicted felons who possess firearms are an inherent danger to community, and in this case, the defendant was an armed career criminal who continued to possess a firearm despite his prior violent felony conviction history. Grayer has devoted his adult life to a career of criminal conduct, and that prior history has finally caught up with him. This sentence rightly removing him from our streets for 19 years will improve public safety for the citizens of Memphis.”
This case was investigated by the Project Safe Neighborhoods Task Force. The Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) initiative is 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. In 2017, PSN was reinvigorated as part of the Justice Department’s renewed focus on targeting 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.
Assistant U.S. Attorney J.William Crow prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.