Jury returns guilty verdict in firearms possession case

Posted: Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Juneau jury in U.S. District Court returned two guilty verdicts against Jayson Dennis man Friday for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

"I feel good," Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Schmidt said. "This was my first federal trial and every aspect was very heavily contested by the defense. We'll see the fireworks at sentencing."

The jury stopped deliberations twice on Friday to inquire about technicalities.

The jury first asked if they were voting on two separate counts, as the jury forms showed one for each weapon. U. S. District Judge John Sedwick said both firearms must be considered separately.

Defense attorney Sue Ellen Tatter asked the jury be reminded that each separate count then must be proven beyond reasonable doubt.

The jury next asked to listen to a previous evidence wire recording involving Dennis and the confidential informant in a Juneau hotel room.

"What really nailed it was the fingerprint on the cartridge," juror Brad Reynolds said. "And the audio revealed that Dennis went to look for the other firearm which was intent, and intent was a part of the possession."

After the verdict, Tatter said she was too disappointed to comment.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. March 1. Dennis faces a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count plus five years of federal supervised probation.

Tatter said she might file a continuance for the sentencing pending a state trial in Juneau Superior Court involving Dennis in February. Drug charges in the state case could enhance one of the federal charges, she said. If the state reaches a verdict first the sentences could be set concurrently, but the process doesn't work the other way around.

• Contact reporter Klas Stolpe at 523-2263 or at klas.stolpe@juneauempire.com.

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