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United States of America v. William Savonta Henderson, Jr.
Case Number: 1:22-cr-00050
Judge: Paul L. Maloney
Court: United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan (Kent County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office in Grand Rapids
Description: Grand Rapids, Michigan criminal defense lawyer represented Defendant charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
On March 15, 2022, William Savonta Henderson, Jr., age 27, of Kalamazoo, Michigan, possessed a loaded .40 caliber pistol in a bag with over 13 grams of cocaine. Shortly before police arrested him, Henderson attended a block party on Woodbury Avenue in Kalamazoo where he openly displayed the firearm to others. As a felon, Henderson was prohibited from possessing firearms.
In February 2022, Cornell Gordon of Kalamazoo was shot three times when an assailant exited a vehicle and began shooting. Police located shell casings at the scene. The government presented evidence connecting the shell casings from that scene to the gun Henderson was arrested with. The government also presented text message evidence recovered from Henderson’s phone discussing his involvement in Gordon’s shooting. After hearing the evidence, U.S. District Judge Paul L. Maloney applied a sentencing cross reference for assault with intent to commit murder.
In announcing Henderson’s sentence, Judge Maloney highlighted that he viewed Henderson as a “risk to the public.” Henderson also had numerous prior criminal convictions, (including prior convictions for carrying concealed weapons, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and controlled substance possession and distribution), which Judge Maloney also considered when imposing the sentence.
This case was investigated through a joint and federal partnership by the Kalamazoo Valley Enforcement Team, the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Crime Reduction Team, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
“The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety would like to thank our federal partners for their continued assistance in our focused approach to reduce gun violence,” said Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Chief David Boysen. “Through this partnership, we are able to identify the most dangerous individuals who are driving the gun violence in Kalamazoo and remove them from our community through federal sanctions. Our community is safer today because Mr. Henderson is in federal custody,” added Boysen.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lauren F. Biksacky as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
18:922(g)(1), 18:924(a)(2) UNLAWFUL TRANSPORT OF FIREARMS, ETC.; felon in possession of a firearm
18:924(c)(1)(A)(i) VIOLENT CRIME/DRUGS/MACHINE GUN; possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime
Outcome: Defendant sentenced to 96 months imprisonment, consecutive to term imposed on Count 3, followed by 3 years supervised release, concurrent with term imposed on Count 3; shall pay $100 special assessment.