Columbia, South Carolina — Acting United States Attorney M. Rhett DeHart announced that Willie Franklin Evans, 59, of Columbia, was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison, after earlier pleading guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.
Evidence presented in court showed that on the evening of August 17, 2020, an officer with the Columbia Police Department recovered a loaded stolen firearm in Evans’ waistband after encountering him in a stopped vehicle on Assembly Street. Evans, who had been released from a three-year term of federal supervision nine days earlier, admitted that he had obtained the firearm a few months or so before.
Evans is a felon and prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition under federal law based upon prior state and federal convictions. After escaping from juvenile custody in 1979, Evans was convicted in state court of armed robbery, assault and battery with intent to kill for shooting a Richland County Sheriff’s Department deputy five times, carrying a concealed weapon, and grand larceny of a vehicle. He was sentenced to a total of 25 years. After being released in 1993, Evans was convicted in federal court in 1996 of two separate counts of using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence stemming from the armed robbery of two businesses in 1995. He was sentenced to 300 months imprisonment followed by 3 years of supervised release. Evans was released to federal supervision in 2017 and completed it in early August 2020, nine days before the instant offense.
Senior United States District Judge Joseph F. Anderson, Jr. sentenced Evans to the guidelines sentence of 18 months imprisonment on the firearm charge with 3 years of supervision to follow. There is no parole in the federal system.
The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Columbia Police Department and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Stacey D. Haynes.
This case was prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local 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.