Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that RICHARD ARMBRE WILLIAMS, age 42, of Columbia, South Carolina has entered a guilty plea in federal court to being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 922(g)(1), 924(a)(2), and 924(e). Senior United States District Judge Margaret B. Seymour accepted the plea and will impose a sentence after she has reviewed the presentence report, which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.
Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that at 7:18 pm on July 30, 2013, officers with the Columbia Police Department responded to the Fast Point Convenience Store on Fairfield Road, in reference to an alarm call. Upon arriving at the scene, officers observed WILLIAMS on the side of the building with his hand tucked into his waistline underneath his shirt. WILLIAMS, after making eye contact with officers, abruptly turned and ran. Despite officers yelling for him to stop, WILLIAMS continued running and dropped two firearms to the ground before ultimately being stopped by officers. Officers recovered the two firearms dropped by WILLIAMS, a Smith & Wesson .32 caliber revolver and a Glock 9mm pistol with rounds of 9mm ammunition, and also recovered a small amount of marijuana in two plastic baggies in WILLIAMS’ right pocket, along with two box cutter knives.
The investigation revealed that WILLIAMS is prohibited under federal law from possessing firearms and/or ammunition based upon his prior state convictions. WILLIAMS has previously been convicted in state court for assault and battery with intent to kill (stemming from shooting in November 1990), assault & battery, voluntary manslaughter (stemming from a shooting in June 1990), possession with intent to distribute cocaine, possession of marijuana, and driving under suspension.
Mr. Nettles stated that WILLIAMS, who has three prior violent felony convictions, appears to be an armed career criminal subject to enhanced penalties under federal law. If the district court determines that WILLIAMS is an armed career criminal, he faces a statutory mandatory minimum of fifteen (15) years imprisonment with a maximum of life, a fine of $250,000 and a term of supervised release of five (5) years to follow the term of imprisonment.
The case was investigated by the Columbia Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and was prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state and local Project CeaseFire initiative, which aggressively prosecutes firearm cases. Assistant United States Attorney Stacey D. Haynes of the Columbia office handled the case.