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Benton Harbor Man Pleads Guilty During Trial

U.S. Attorney’s Office December 09, 2009
  • Western District of Michigan (616) 456-2404

GRAND RAPIDS, MI—Travis Santelle Burton, 30, of Benton Harbor, Michigan, pled guilty to being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, U.S. Attorney Donald A. Davis announced today. The plea came during the first day of the jury trial scheduled for the case in front of U.S. District Court Judge Robert Jonker.

The case stems from an incident on July 19, 2009, in which Benton Harbor Police officers were dispatched to the Last Chance Bar to respond to a report that there was a man in the parking lot brandishing a gun. The man was Travis Santelle Burton. The police ordered Burton to stop and show his hands. After he pulled his hands out of his pockets, the police found a baggie of marijuana and a handgun in his pockets. The police seized the gun, a stolen and loaded .45 caliber Gabilonda semiautomatic pistol. Burton has a number of felony convictions, beginning in 1997. These include assault with a dangerous weapon, carrying a concealed weapon, fleeing and eluding police, and resisting and obstructing police.

During his guilty plea, Burton admitted that he was a felon, and that the gun involved was the .45 caliber Gabilondo. He stated that on July 19, he got into a confrontation with another man at the Last Chance Bar, and a friend made a gun available to him for use if necessary during the confrontation.

Burton faces a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment and a fine of $250,000, at sentencing, which is scheduled for April 6, 2010 before the Honorable Robert J. Jonker.

U.S. Attorney Davis commended the Benton Harbor Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their investigation of the case. This case was prosecuted on behalf of the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy P. VerHey.

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