Source: United States Attorneys General
In San Antonio today, a federal judge sentenced 24-year-old Bradley Ahearn to 20 years in federal prison for shooting a U.S. Mail carrier last year in Spring Branch, TX, announced United States Attorney John F. Bash; Inspector in Charge Adrian Gonzalez, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Houston Division; and, San Antonio Police Chief William McManus.
In addition to the prison term, Chief United States District Judge Orlando Garcia ordered that Ahearn pay $13,540.88 in restitution and be placed on supervised release for a period of five years after completing his prison term.
On February 22, 2018, Ahearn pleaded guilty to seven a total of seven federal charges including aiding and abetting carjacking; aiding and abetting use of a firearm during a crime of violence; aiding and abetting robbery of U.S. Mail; and, four counts of aiding and abetting assault on a federal officer.
By pleading guilty, Ahearn admitted that on February 11, 2017, he shot a female U.S. Mail carrier as she was delivering mail to a cluster of mailboxes in Spring Branch, TX, because the victim would not give him her cell phone. The victim is still recovering from the gunshot that pierced both of her legs. Ahearn left the scene in the victim’s pickup truck while it still contained the victim’s purse and personal effects as well as a considerable amount of U.S. Mail. According to court records, Ahearn’s co-defendant, 27-year-old Sarah Richford, followed Ahearn in a maroon/brown colored Toyota Venza as he left the scene.
Two days after the shooting, a U.S. Postal Inspector spotted the Toyota Venza at a restaurant near the location of the shooting. The Postal Inspector attempted to initiate an investigative stop, but was unsuccessful as Ahearn fired a handgun in the direction of the federal officer. Ahearn admitted to firing his weapon at the U.S. Postal Inspector and another federal agent during a subsequent 19-mile-long, high-speed pursuit. Ahearn and Richford managed to avoid capture.
According to court records, on February 14, 2017, employees of a local motel notified investigators of the presence of a large amount of U.S. Mail and a handgun case in one of the motel rooms. Much of the discovered mail, originating from locations across the country, was destined for addresses in the Spring Branch, TX area. That same day, not far from the motel, investigators recovered the abandoned Toyota Venza. From motel surveillance footage, investigators discovered Ahearn, Richford and 41-year-old Piper Lee leave the motel in Lee’s yellow Volkswagen and requested San Antonio police to initiate a stop of the vehicle. While failing to yield to SAPD officers, Ahearn began shooting at the police officers and another high-speed pursuit ensued. Ultimately, the defendants abandoned their vehicle inside a parking garage of a local mall and managed to elude capture by law enforcement.
On February 15, 2017, San Antonio police officers, acting on information provided to investigators, arrested Ahearn, Richford and Lee without incident in a parking lot of a different local motel.
Richford, who remains in federal custody, is scheduled to be sentenced on September 6, 2018. She faces 20 years in federal prison after pleading guilty on February 23, 2018, to five charges–aiding and abetting carjacking; aiding and abetting use of a firearm during a crime of violence; aiding and abetting robbery of U.S. Mail; and, two counts of aiding and abetting assault on a federal officer.
Lee, who also remains in federal custody, is charged with two counts of aiding and abetting the assault of a federal officer; one count of aiding and abetting use of a firearm during a crime of violence; and, one count of possession of stolen mail. He is currently set for jury selection on August 20, 2018, before Chief U.S. District Judge Orlando L. Garcia.
It is important to note that an indictment is merely a charge and should not be evidence of guilt. A defendant is considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service together with the San Antonio Police Department, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Rangers, Comal County Sheriff’s Office, Bulverde Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Marshals Service and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) investigated this case. Assistant United States Attorneys Bettina Richardson and Christina Playton are prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.