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Ketchikan man gets 7 years for firearms conviction

Posted: February 3, 2012 - 1:37am

A Ketchikan man who pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm was sentenced to serve seven years in a federal prison.

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Burgess sentenced Steven Kyle Doran, 25, on Wednesday in Juneau and ordered him to be placed on supervised probation for three years after his release. Burgess also required Doran to receive a mental health and substance abuse evaluation.

“For the next 10 years, you’re either going to be in prison or on supervised release,” the judge told Doran.

Doran was indicted by a grand jury in April 2011 for possessing a Mauser 9 millimeter pistol in January 2011. He had previously been convicted of a felony drug charge in Ketchikan in 2010, which prohibited him from possessing firearms.

Doran pleaded guilty to the charge in July of last year.

Prosecutors alleged that on Jan. 17, Doran pulled out a gun, which he stole from his stepfather, as an Alaska State Trooper was trying to place him under arrest inside a sporting goods store, Tongass Trading Company, in Ketchikan. The Trooper had been off duty, recognized Doran in the store and knew he had outstanding warrants for his arrest.

Doran pulled the loaded gun from his pants and threatened to kill himself after the Trooper approached him. A struggle ensued for the gun, and eventually the Trooper took Doran down to the ground and disarmed him. Illegal prescription pills were found on Doran after his arrest.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Schmidt argued in court Doran had previously told a family member he would shoot any officer who executes a search warrant at his residence, then kill himself.

“... Based on what Doran told a family member that ‘any officer attempting to execute warrants will be shot and he will shoot himself,’ this clearly demonstrates Doran’s intent when he pulled the gun was to shoot the officer,” Schmidt wrote in a sentencing recommendation.

Schmidt noted Doran has an extensive criminal history that begins at age 12, and argued his behavior is becoming increasingly violent.

“He’s an increasing threat to the community,” he said.

Schmidt asked the judge to sentence Doran to 10 years in prison with three years of supervised release.

Doran’s lawyer, Assistant Federal Defender Sue Ellen Tatter, argued Doran had already been prosecuted and sentenced for these crimes in state court. Doran had been charged for assault, misconduct involving a weapon, misconduct involving controlled substances, resisting arrest, reckless endangerment, burglary, theft of weapons and trespass. A Juneau District Court judge on Jan. 31 had sentenced him to six years and three months to serve for those offenses for the same incident with the Trooper.

“Simply because the federal government can override double jeopardy concerns with a felon-in-possession prosecution based on events prosecuted in state court does not mean it should obtain a double sentence,” Tatter wrote in a sentencing memo.

She told Burgess in court “this kind of prosecution is really giving him a double whammy.... It dovetails with the state’s sentence ... It’s the same conduct.”

Tatter also called two store employees as witnesses, who both testified Doran’s intention was only to hurt himself, as he was pointing the gun at his own head and was saying he was going to kill himself.

“I do not, I think he was trying to hurt himself,” a male store employee said when asked by Schmidt if he thought he was trying to hurt the Trooper.

“What I saw that day, well I’ll never forget,” a female store employee said. “ ...He said he was going to kill himself, and I could see that desperation in his eyes and I could see that’s exactly what he’s going to do.”

Tatter told the judge the defendant was an “egregiously troubled” young offender with an oxycodone addiction that drove his behavior. She asked for an alternative sentence, five to six years, which is under the range suggested by federal sentencing guidelines.

The sentencing range for this class ‘C’ felony is a minimum of 84 months, or seven years, and a maximum of 105 months, or 10 years.

“It’s not a standoff with Troopers,” she said. “It’s serious, but it deserves a concurrent sentence without a lengthy federal add-on.”

The judge agreed with the prosecution that Doran’s criminal history is alarming and called the incident with the Trooper “the height of stupidity and dangerousness.”

“I can’t sit here today and determine if it’s a drug problem, a mental health problem, or if it’s a bad attitude,” he said, later adding, “You’re going to end up dead or in jail for the rest of your life on the path that you’re on.”

Burgess imposed the 84 months, which is on the low end of the sentencing guidelines, but is also longer than the defense requested and less than the prosecution asked for.

Before the judge handed down the sentence, Doran spoke on his own behalf and expressed regret and remorse for putting others in danger. He apologized to everyone involved, saying if he could take it back, he would.

“I’ve made extremely bad decisions,” he said, adding. “I’m not asking to go unpunished.”

• Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at emily.miller@juneauempire.com.

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