A Cedartown native pursued by authorities for more than an hour in a chase that ended in Cartersville got a hefty prison sentence yesterday from U.S. District Judge Robert L. Vining, announced U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates.
Johnnie Turner, 26, who also shot a .357 caliber pistol during the 2010 incident, had pleaded guilty in 2011 to illegally possessing a firearm as a previously convicted felon.
Turner was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. He had been convicted of at least three prior felonies, including burglary and obstruction of a law enforcement officer.
"[This] sentence is a testament to the consequences facing convicted felons who illegally arm themselves," Yates said in a statement. "This defendant’s mistaken belief that he could possess a firearm, and discharge that firearm during an attempt to evade a lawful arrest, will now cost him 10 years in prison."
Is 10 years in prison an appropriate sentence? Tell us in the comments!
According to Yates, the charges and other information presented in court:
When police attempted to arrest Turner in Cedartown on June 22, 2010, on an outstanding arrest warrant, he fled in his vehicle. For the next hour, Turner attempted to outrun the authorities at speeds of more than 100 mph through Polk, Floyd and Bartow counties.
At one point in his effort to evade arrest, Turner drove into oncoming civilian traffic. During the pursuit, Turner brandished a .357 caliber revolver at officers and discharged it twice.
After an hour of pursuit, officers ultimately arrested Turner in Cartersville.
The outstanding warrants were related to aggravated assault and battery charges against Turner, who threw the gun out the window of his brother's Kia Rio and surrendered to authorities at Waffle House on Joe Frank Harris Parkway, Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Marshal’s Southeast Regional Task Force and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
"The sentence imposed by the court sends a clear message of deterrence to those individuals who would contemplate performing any criminal activity involving firearms in the Northern Judicial District of Georgia," said acting Special Agent in Charge Michael Delvecchio. "Mr. Turner showed total disregard for public safety and the lives of others as he recklessly drove through the streets of Georgia attempting to evade law enforcement. ATF’s mission as the violent crime bureau is to see that criminals like Mr. Turner are brought to justice and our communities remain a safe place to live and prosper."