The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Robert J. Higdon, Jr., announced that today, MAURICE MONTRAE PARKS, 36, of Wilson, was sentenced by Senior United States District Judge W. Earl Britt for one count of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. Judge Britt sentenced PARKS to 90 months imprisonment followed by 3 years of supervised release.
PARKS was convicted after a three-day jury trial on February 7, 2018. The evidence at trial showed that shortly after midnight on September 5, 2015, PARKS was seen banging on the door of a residence in Wilson while holding a firearm. After a neighbor called 911, Officers of The Wilson Police Department arrived, and PARKS fled the scene in his car. During the brief chase, PARKS took several turns along residential streets and cut through the lawn of a vacant home that sat at the corner of an intersection. A pursuing officer observed PARKS’ vehicle stop briefly beside that vacant home. PARKS drove back to the street where he had been seen with the gun and jumped and ran from his car. Police apprehended PARKS on the driveway of the house whose resident had placed the 911 call. Officers returned to the vacant home that PARKS had driven around and found a Ruger Mini-14 rifle lying in the grass. The firearm was near fresh tire marks in the yard and in the area where PARKS had momentarily stopped his car.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.
In support of PSN, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina has implemented the Take Back North Carolina Initiative. This initiative emphasizes the regional assignment of federal prosecutors to work with law enforcement and District Attorney’s Offices on a sustained basis in those communities to reduce the violent crime rate, drug trafficking, and crimes against law enforcement.
The investigation of this case was conducted by the Wilson Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF). Assistant United States Attorney Jake D. Pugh represented the government in this case.