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Augusta man among 7 indicted on charges including federal gun felonies

The Wichita Co. Grand Jury has indicted a man charged with Murder and Aggravated Assault in...
The Wichita Co. Grand Jury has indicted a man charged with Murder and Aggravated Assault in connection with a deadly shooting at Studio E on August 26, 2018. (Source: RNN)((Source: RNN))
Updated: Jun. 14, 2021 at 1:46 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -Seven defendants, including one Augusta man, face felony firearms charges after indictments by a U.S. District Court grand jury in the Southern District of Georgia.

The cases are being investigated in collaboration with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the FBI, with charges related to illegal possession of firearms.

“By coordinating with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners, we will continue to make our streets safer as we remove illegally possessed firearms,” said David H. Estes, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.

In the past three years, more than 680 defendants were federally charged in the Southern District of Georgia for illegal firearms offenses – most often for possessing a firearm after having been convicted of a previous felony. That charge carries a statutory penalty upon conviction of up to 10 years in prison, and there is no parole in the federal system.

Defendants named in federal indictments from the June term of the U.S. District Court grand jury include:

  • Matthew Ryan Gordon, 31, of Brunswick, charged with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, fentanyl, and heroin, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
  • Charles Walker, 53, of Savannah, charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana and cocaine, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
  • Kenneth Mitchell, 29, of Savannah, charged with possession of with intent to distribute BMDP (bath salts), possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
  • Joe Welcome, 33, of Pooler, Ga., charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
  • Damario Antron Williams, 35, of Augusta, charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
  • Bryan Heyward, 20, of Savannah, charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
  • Leaa Jones, 23, of Savannah, charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Additional defendants, including four from the two state area, were adjudicated in March on charges that include illegal firearms possession, including:

  • John Thomas Barnes III, 32, of Augusta, was sentenced to 84 months in prison, fined $1,500 and ordered to serve three years of supervised release upon completion of his prison sentence after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. Richmond County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Barnes March 27, 2020, after finding him in illegal possession of a pistol.
  • Tona Nikia Wright, 47, of Augusta, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to possession of a firearm by an illegal drug user, and violation of security regulations and orders regarding Department of Defense properties. Wright admitted that she was an unlawful user of cocaine and marijuana, and that on April 30, 2020, she entered a controlled access point at Fort Gordon Military Reservation without properly reporting the Taurus .380 caliber pistol in her possession.
  • Terrence Latroy Brown, 30, of North Charleston, S.C., awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to possession of a firearm by an illegal drug user. Brown admitted that on April 29, 2020, he was an illegal user of methamphetamine and Eutylone when Richmond County Sheriff’s deputies found him illegally possessing an assault-style rifle.
  • Malcolm Robinson Brown, 38, of Augusta, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Brown admitted to illegally possessing a loaded pistol when questioned May 16, 2020, by Richmond County Sheriff’s deputies.
  • Brian Thomas Myers, 35, of Beech Island, S.C., awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to Transfer of an Illegal Firearm – a sawed-off shotgun – to an ATF agent. A co-defendant.
  • Alisha Nicole Howard, 35, of Augusta, also awaits sentencing after pleading guilty May 12 to Transfer of an illegal firearm, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and distribution of methamphetamine, fentanyl and heroin. The charges stem from an August 2018 ATF investigation that led to the defendants’ arrests.
  • Joseph Edward Palmer, 28, of Thomson, Ga., awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Palmer admitted illegally possessing a pistol when questioned May 22, 2020, by Richmond County Sheriff’s deputies.

These cases also are being investigated under the Prosecutor to Prosecutor Program (P3), in which federal and state prosecutors collaborate to determine the most appropriate venue for adjudication of alleged crimes.

Agencies investigating these cases include the ATF; the FBI; the Savannah Police Department; the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office; the Chatham County Police Department; the Glynn County Police Department; and the Brunswick Police Department.

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