Beltzhoover man with long criminal history sentenced for having machine gun

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A Beltzhoover man who pleaded guilty in federal court to possession and transfer of a machine gun was sentenced today to seven years in prison -- a term lower than federal guidelines suggest but that nonetheless upset his family to the point that they nearly attacked his defense attorney.

Shawn Marshall Davis, 32, has a long criminal history that includes convictions for drug charges, statutory rape and fleeing or eluding. U.S. District Judge Maurice B. Cohill said that Davis had also been charged with violent crimes that prosecutors declined to pursue.

Davis also faces pending state court charges of drug possession with intent to deliver.

Although his criminal history bars him from possessing firearms, he was caught with a 9mm Luger Sten machine gun, three rifles and an semi-automatic pistol.

"Mr. Davis' criminal history is extensive," said Judge Cohill. "I think he has shown dangerous propensities in the past."

Nonetheless, the judge imposed a sentence -- five years for possession of firearms by a convicted felon, plus two for the machine gun -- below the roughly 12 years suggested by federal sentencing guidelines.

Court-appointed attorney Patrick K. Nightingale asked the judge to allow Davis to serve the five-year sentence and the two-year sentence simultaneously, rather than back-to-back. The judge denied that request.

Outside the courtroom, members of Davis' family menaced Mr. Nightingale, and some members had to restrain others while court security officers rushed down the hallway. The family was then escorted out of the federal courthouse.


Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1542. Twitter: @richelord.


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