ROCKFORD — A federal grand jury returned indictments in separate cases charging two men with illegally possessing machine guns.
The defendants are charged with possessing devices that were used to convert a conventional semi-automatic pistol into a fully automatic firearm. The devices are commonly referred to as “switches,” “auto-sears,” or “conversion devices,” among other names.
The indictments were returned Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Rockford.
In one case, JAVAUGHN A. HIXSON, 21, of Rockford, was charged with three counts of possessing a conversion device, and one count of illegal possession of a firearm as a convicted felon. Hixson pleaded not guilty to the charges during arraignment this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lisa A. Jensen. Hixson was ordered to remain detained in federal custody pending trial. According to the indictment, Hixson knowingly possessed conversion devices on Oct. 22, 2020, Nov. 5, 2020, and Dec. 8, 2020. Hixson illegally possessed the firearm – a loaded Glock pistol – on Jan. 4, 2021, the indictment states.
In the other case, MARCUS D. WILLIAMS, 25, of Loves Park, was charged with one count of possessing a firearm that had been converted into a machine gun. According to the indictment, Williams on Jan. 7, 2021, knowingly possessed a loaded Glock .40-caliber firearm that had been converted into a machine gun by an aftermarket “switch” device. Williams is currently in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections. His arraignment in federal court has not yet been scheduled.
The indictments were announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Kristen deTineo, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives; Gary Caruana, Winnebago County Sheriff; and Dan O’Shea, Chief of the Rockford Police Department. The government is represented in the Hixson case by Assistant U.S. Attorney Talia Bucci, and in the Williams case by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Maveus.
Each of the counts charged in the indictments carry a maximum sentence of ten years in federal prison. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal sentencing statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.
The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.