Jackson, Miss. – Dominique Dontona Ashford, 36, of Meridian, was sentenced yesterday by Senior U.S. District Court Judge Tom S. Lee, to two concurrent 262 month sentences in federal prison, followed by 5 years of supervised release, as well as a $1,500.00 fine, for being a convicted felon in possession of ammunition and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, announced U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst and Special Agent in Charge Kurt Thielhorn with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
On March 18, 2019, officers with the Meridian Police Department responded to a 911 call reporting a domestic disturbance. Upon arriving at the residence, the officers spoke with the complainant who told them she wanted her boyfriend, Ashford, out of her house. Officers spoke with Ashford and told him they would need to pat him down for weapons. Ashford was found to be in possession of suspected narcotics during the pat down search.
When officers searched his pockets, three .38 caliber bullets were found in Ashford’s left front pants pocket. The complainant told officers that she did not own any firearms and that she wanted all of Ashford’s belongings out of her house. The complainant testified at trial that Ashford threatened to beat her with a handgun earlier that day.
Meridian Police officers searched the house and located a .38 caliber Taurus revolver, loaded with five .38 caliber bullets, in a closet in a back bedroom. The complainant identified the revolver as the pistol with which she had been threatened. Officers with the Meridian Police Department, the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office and an ATF agent testified at trial in addition to Ashford’s ex-girlfriend.
Ashford was found guilty by a jury on March 3, 2020 following a one-day trial in U.S. District Court before Judge Lee. Ashford has previous convictions for robbery, possession of cocaine, burglary and sale of cocaine within 1,500 feet of a church. Due to the number and nature of Ashford’s prior convictions, he faced a minimum of fifteen years in prison, and a maximum potential sentence of life in prison, as to each of the two counts.
The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Charles W. 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) and Project Guardian. EJECT is a holistic, multi-disciplinary approach to fighting and reducing violent crime through prosecution, prevention, re-entry 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. Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities.