Former inmate gets federal sentence on gun charges

Mar. 8—MACON — A Macon resident who was previously convicted and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for voluntary manslaughter was sentenced to federal prison after he was caught trying to sell a firearm and ammunition in the community.

Jeffery Maurice Willis, 45, of Macon, was sentenced to serve 33 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release by U.S. District Judge Marc Treadwell after Willis previously pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. There is no parole in the federal system.

"The U.S. Attorney's Office is holding individuals with prior violent felonies accountable at the federal level when they are caught with firearms," U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary said in a news release. "Working with law enforcement, we are using every resource available to protect our communities from the threat of firearms in the hands of criminals."

"ATF will continue to dedicate federal resources in conjunction with crucial federal and local law enforcement partners to the pursuit of eradicating and forestalling criminal activity in the communities we serve," ATF Assistant Special Agent in Charge Beau Kolodka said.

"This case is an example of how a felony conviction for a violent crime as a young adult will carry federal consequences when that individual chooses to illegally take up a firearm later in life," Bibb County Sheriff David Davis said.

According to facts entered in court, ATF agents conducted several controlled buys of firearms and ammunitions in May 2021 as part of a larger investigation into gun trafficking and drug distribution in Macon and the surrounding areas. ATF agents observed and recorded Willis sell a .44 revolver and five rounds of ammunition in Macon on May 6, 2021. Willis was previously convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the Superior Court of Bibb County, Georgia, in 1997. It is illegal for a convicted felon to possess a firearm.

This case is the result of Operation United Front, an ongoing ATF-led investigation into illegal gun possession and drug distribution in middle Georgia utilizing the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Bibb County Sheriff's Office investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Will Keyes prosecuted the case.