Wilson gun convict receives federal prison sentence

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A Wilson man accused of approaching a home with a rifle and leading police on a car chase will spend 7 ½ years in federal prison after he was convicted on a gun charge, prosecutors announced Friday.

Senior U.S. District Judge W. Earl Britt sentenced 36-year-old Maurice Montrae Parks in a Raleigh courtroom after a federal jury convicted him on one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in a three-day trial ending Feb. 7.

The gun possession charge stems from a September 2015 incident in which Parks was seen banging on the door of a Wilson home while holding a gun shortly after midnight. A neighbor called 911 and Parks fled in his car when Wilson police arrived, according to Don Connelly, spokesman for U.S. Attorney Robert Higdon.

Parks led police on a brief chase before returning to the street where he had been seen with the gun and jumped and ran from his car, Connelly said in a news release. Officers took Parks into custody in the driveway of the 911 caller’s home and recovered a Ruger Mini-14 rifle that Parks allegedly discarded from the car.

After serving his 7 ½-year sentence, Parks will be subject to three years of supervised release.

The case was brought as a part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods program. Federal officials say the program has been historically successful in bringing law enforcement agencies together to reduce violent crime and make neighborhoods safer.

The investigation was conducted by the Wilson Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jake D. Pugh and John Stuart Bruce prosecuted the case. Senior U.S. District Judge W. Earl Britt presided over the trial.