JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Otha Ray Flowers, 37, of Jackson, was found guilty Monday afternoon by a federal jury for illegally possessing a firearm as a convicted felon, announced U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst, Special Agent in Charge Michelle A. Sutphin with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Special Agent in Charge Kirk Thielhorn with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
At approximately 8:30 pm. on February 18, 2017, an officer with the Jackson Police Department initiated a field interview of two men sitting in a parked vehicle outside of Big Boys Groceries on Road of Remembrance. Upon approaching the vehicle, the officer smelled the odor of marijuana. After asking the driver, later identified as Flowers, for his driver’s license, another officer observed the passenger appearing to put something in his mouth. Both Flowers and the passenger were ordered out of the vehicle. Flowers had been sitting on a .32 silver colored revolver, which the officer saw in plain view when Flowers exited the vehicle. The pistol was loaded with five live rounds and two spent shell casings. A records check revealed that Flowers had multiple felony convictions in Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. Flowers also had outstanding warrants for his arrest. Officers recovered marijuana from Flowers’ pocket in addition to the loaded firearm.
Flowers was previously convicted in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, for attempted armed robbery; in Hinds County, Mississippi for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon; and in Guadalupe County, Texas for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Flowers will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Henry T. Wingate on November 22, 2019, and faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Jackson Police Department. It was prosecuted and tried by Assistant United States Attorneys David Fulcher and Chet Kirkham.
This case is part of Project EJECT, an initiative by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Mississippi under the U.S. Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN). EJECT is a holistic, multi-disciplinary approach to fighting and reducing violent crime through prosecution, prevention, reentry and awareness. EJECT stands for “Empower Justice Expel Crime Together.” PSN is bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.