Courts gavel scales

Two men from Statesville were sentenced in U.S. District Court as part of the Western District’s Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative.

Judge Kenneth D. Bell sentenced Wayne Lamont Johnson, 39, to 63 months in prison followed by three years of supervised probation. Johnson pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a felon. Plea documents and statements made in court show that on Sept. 12, 2017, officers with the Statesville Police Department recovered a firearm from inside a vehicle Johnson was driving. Johnson has a prior felony conviction for sale of cocaine and is prohibited from possessing a firearm.

Bell also sentenced Patrick Maurice Anto Curruth, 27, of Statesville to serve 50 months in prison followed by two years of supervised release. Curruth was convicted of multiple state charges, including robbery with a dangerous weapon and assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury and received a sentence of up to 84 months in prison. On Feb. 9, 2018, SPD investigators executed a search warrant at Curruth’s residence and recovered a loaded Ruger, model P94 semi-automatic pistol. Curruth pleaded guilty, in federal court, to possession of a firearm by a felon.

U.S. Attorney Murray commended the work of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), the Statesville Police Department and the State Bureau of Investigation for their continued work and coordination on Project Safe Neighborhoods cases.

Project Safe Neighborhoods is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. It 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. Assistant U.S. Attorney Erik Lindahl prosecuted the case against Johnson. The prosecution against Curruth was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Cortney Randall.

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