MACON, Ga. – A convicted felon was sentenced to 54 months in prison for illegally possessing a stolen gun, said Charles “Charlie” Peeler, the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia.
Howard Paul Hayes, 36, of Warner Robins, Georgia was sentenced on Wednesday, August 12 by U.S. District Judge Tillman E. “Tripp” Self to 54 months in prison after pleading guilty to one count possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. There is no parole in the federal system.
Hayes was captured in Macon by Georgia State Patrol (GSP) after attempting to outrun officers before sunrise on May 18, 2018. Hayes was initially pulled over for not having headlights. The defendant did not produce a license and gave the officer a false identity before he took off in the car he was driving. Hayes ultimately lost control of the vehicle, and was arrested. Hayes was captured wearing a holster, and officers found a stolen Glock semi-automatic pistol under the driver’s seat. Hayes admitted he knew it was illegal for him to have a firearm, due to prior felony convictions.
“It is illegal for convicted felons to possess a firearm. The punishment for those with a criminal record caught with guns is prison time without parole,” said U.S. Attorney Charlie Peeler. “I want to thank the GSP and the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office for their work in this case.”
The investigation was conducted as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
This case is also part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. For more information about Project Guardian, please see https://www.justice.gov/projectguardian.
The case was investigated by GSP and the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Will R. Keyes prosecuted the case for the Government. Questions can be directed to Pamela Lightsey, Public Information Officer, United States Attorney’s Office, at (478) 621-2603 or Melissa Hodges, Public Affairs Director (Contractor), United States Attorney’s Office, at (478) 765-2362.