Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced that in 2023 his office will make the prosecution of illegal handgun and weapons possession a top priority. The gun prosecution initiative will focus on enhancing weapons possession cases using all available technology, including fingerprints, DNA analysis, facial recognition technology and ensuring that each seized firearm is entered into the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN).
The NIBIN system is an automated ballistic imaging network administered by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that uses markings on spent cartridges to track individual firearms. The use of NIBIN enhances not only individual firearms prosecutions, but also allows for the tracking of the origin of firearms and the investigation of that gun’s prior use in Orange County, or elsewhere.
“Gun violence in Orange County, and throughout New York State, continues at unacceptable levels, particularly in our cities,” said Hoovler. “Weapons possession cases will be handled by senior members of my staff to ensure that we achieve maximum penalties for those who use or threaten the use of illegal weapons. It has been proven time and time again that there are only a small number of incorrigible offenders who account for the bulk of violent crimes. Lengthy incarceration of these crime drivers is crucial to the safety of our residents.”
In 2022, the District Attorney’s Office prosecuted 99 defendants charged with Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree. Most of those defendants were sentenced to state prison. On July 27, 2022, one defendant, Corey Owens, 28, of Newburgh, was convicted, following a jury trial in Orange County Court, of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree for illegally possessing a loaded 9 mm semiautomatic pistol. Owens was sentenced to fifteen years in state prison.
Similarly, Kaeshawn Kerr, 27, of Brooklyn, was sentenced on March 3, 2022, to twelve years in state prison and after a jury found him guilty of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree. On June 15, 2022, Louis Dessources, age 38, of New Jersey, was sentenced to seven and one-half years in state prison following his conviction by a jury trial for Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree.
Hoovler said, “Our past success with the Gun Initiated Violence Elimination (GIVE) program, has been touted as a model for other jurisdictions in New York State to follow. This new initiative builds on our past successes as we work with our law enforcement partners and community leaders to combat illegal weapons possession, and the violent crimes that inevitably follow.”