10 years in prison for illegal gun possession in NEA

JONESBORO, Ark. – A press release indicated a man who made violent statements about law enforcement also made the mistake of having a firearm illegally in Blytheville and will spend a decade behind bars for it.

The release came Monday evening from U.S. Attorney Cody Hiland for the Eastern District of Arkansas. It reads as follows:

A Missouri resident overheard on jail calls threatening to kill law enforcement officers and witnesses was sentenced Monday to federal prison for 10 years for possessing a firearm in Arkansas. Cody Hiland, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, announced that multi-convicted felon Jimmy David McVay, 34, of Steele, Mo., was sentenced to the statutory maximum 120 months in prison for his illegal possession of a firearm in Blytheville in 2016.

On May 4, 2018, a grand jury returned an indictment charging McVay, who has also lived in Blytheville, with one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, one count of threatening witnesses in a federal proceeding, and one count of threatening to assault a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) special agent. McVay pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm on October 3, 2018. On Monday, United States District Court Chief Judge Brian S. Miller sentenced McVay to 10 years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.

“Jimmy David McVay illegally possessed guns on numerous occasions, and threatened to harm witnesses and law enforcement officers on numerous occasions,” Hiland said. “This significant sentence properly reflects the seriousness of his crime. Any time an individual combines illegal gun possession with violence—threats or otherwise— they should know there will be a spot in a federal prison waiting for them.”

At his change of plea hearing, McVay admitted that he possessed a Ruger .357 revolver during the filming of a rap video in Blytheville in July 2016. According to evidence presented at McVay’s sentencing hearing Monday, officers recovered the Ruger revolver seen in the video from a body of water in Pemiscot County, Mo.

At the sentencing hearing, an ATF special agent testified that on July 26, 2016, approximately three weeks after the video in Blytheville was produced, Steele, Mo., Police Chief Billy Joe Stanfield attempted to pull over McVay in McVay’s vehicle in Steele. McVay fled, and during the pursuit, McVay crossed a bridge in Pemiscot County, Mo., and threw the firearm out his window and into the water below.

Law enforcement divers eventually located the Ruger revolver, which was loaded with the hammer cocked back, in the water.

Also at Monday’s sentencing hearing, Judge Miller heard numerous recorded jail calls in which McVay threatened to harm the local and federal law enforcement officers involved in his cases, as well as harm any witnesses who may have spoken to police about McVay’s illegal activities. The ATF agent also testified about numerous Facebook posts McVay made involving threats to witnesses who may appear before the grand jury, including both civilians and federal agents.

The investigation was conducted by the Cape Girardeau, Mo., ATF Field Office, as well as the Pemiscot County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, the Steele, Mo., Police Department, and the Caruthersville, Mo., Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Chris Givens.

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