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Felons convicted on federal firearms charges sentenced to 15 years in prison

Felons convicted on federal firearms charges sentenced to 15 years in prison

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LITTLE ROCK—Two multi-convicted felons will spend the next 180 months in federal prison for illegally possessing a firearm.

Cody Hiland, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, announced the sentences, which were handed down today in federal court.

Demarcus King, 35, of North Little Rock, was sentenced by United States District Judge Kristine G.

Baker, and Larry Anthony Smith, 49, of Little Rock, was sentenced by Chief United States District Judge D.P. Marshall, Jr.

Both King and Smith are considered armed career criminals, which means their criminal histories include at least three prior convictions for a violent felony, serious drug offense, or both. As armed career criminals, each defendant was subject to a 15-year mandatory minimum sentence, which is what each received. King admitted prior convictions for delivery of cocaine, residential burglary, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of cocaine and alprazolam (Xanax) with purpose to deliver. Smith admitted prior convictions for 2nd degree murder, theft by receiving, 2nd degree battery (twice), forgery, simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms, possession of firearms by certain persons, and possession of cocaine. Both defendants were sentenced to three years of supervised release to follow their 15-year prison sentences.

“These two cases are perfect examples of how we can use the federal system to target the most violent offenders,” stated U.S.

Attorney Hiland. “These career criminals will spend 15 years in prison, where they will no longer create chaos and danger in our communities. Violent felons should take note that we can and will seek these lengthy sentences for those who make a career out of committing violent crime.”

King pleaded guilty to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm on January 17, 2020. At that hearing, King admitted that on December 4, 2017, he reported to his state parole officer for a scheduled office visit. The parole officer decided to conduct a routine parole search, as King had a signed search waiver on file as part of his probation. On the way to the residence, King suddenly became unresponsive and was transported by ambulance to a hospital. Other officers proceeded to King’s residence, where his mother provided consent for them to enter and search. His mother identified King’s room and told officers that no one else used that bedroom. Inside King’s bedroom, officers found a nine-millimeter Glock pistol, which was loaded with 14 rounds of ammunition and one in the chamber.

Smith pleaded guilty to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm on March 3, 2020. At that hearing, Smith admitted that on July 12, 2018, police were called due to a disturbance at a residence.

When officers arrived, Smith came to the door holding a black .38 caliber revolver, which was loaded with four live rounds.

Smith provided a false name and birthdate to police and was eventually taken into custody.

These cases are part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a Department of Justice initiative designed to create and foster safer neighborhoods through a sustained reduction in violent crime, including addressing criminal gangs and the felonious possession and use of firearms. The program has been effective in reducing violent crime because of the ongoing coordination, cooperation, and partnerships of local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies.

For more information about Project Guardian, please see: https://www.justice.gov/pr ojectguardian.

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Continued on Page 15 STATE NEWS (cont.)

LITTLE ROCK — Every year thousands of Americans die by suicide, leaving behind friends and family to navigate the tragedy of loss. In 2019, more than 500 Arkansans died by suicide.

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. This is a time to share resources and stories in an effort to shed light on this stigmatized topic.

In 2017, the Arkansas Legislature passed Act 811 which mandated that calls made from Arkansas to the National Suicide Prevention be operated by the Arkansas Department of Health. This has allowed callers in crises to be able to speak to someone who has a strong understanding of resources available nearby. There are an average of over 1,000 calls made to the lifeline each month.

In the 2019 Regular Session, the legislature passed Act 551 which requires the House Committee on Aging, Children and Youth, Legislative and Military Affairs and the Senate Committee on State Agencies and Governmental Affairs to examine veteran issues within Arkansas, including the occurrence of suicide among the veteran population in Arkansas. The committees will file a written report with their findings and recommendations to Legislative Council by December 1.

This General Assembly also passed Act 962 which creates the offense of encouraging the suicide of another person and makes the offense a Class D felony.

No one organization or piece of legislation can tackle suicide prevention alone. To save lives, multiple systems must work in a coordinated way to reach those in suicidal crisis where they are.

If you are in crisis now, please call 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Veterans can access the Veteran Crisis line by calling the number and pressing 1.

Anyone can also text the crisis line by sending TALK to 741741, or chat online at www.suicidepreventionlifeline. org/chat/.

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