Federal judge sentences two convicted felons for having guns

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John Swain and John Watson are sentenced for being felons in possession of firearms

BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — A pair of convicted felons are headed to prison on possession of firearms charges. U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia, Mike Stuart, made the announcement on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019.

John Henry Swain

John Henry Swain, 45, of Beckley was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm in April 2019. Swain was one of three people who were being investigated for public intoxication on Sept. 20, 2018 in Beckley. When police approached him he ran off and threw a 9mm pistol away while he ran.

The gun was found by a K9 unit. During a recorded interview, Swain told investigators he wanted to shoot the pistol to see what it sounded like. He is not allowed to have a firearm due to a federal conviction in 2008.

Swain was sentenced to 60 months in prison.


John R Watson, Jr.

John Watson, 43, of Beckley was contacted by a Special Agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) on May 8, 2018. The agent was investigating stolen guns and spoke with Watson about two handguns and a rifle he had recently bought.

File Photo: Sig Sauer, Model M400, .223 caliber rifle

The guns were a Springfield Armory, Model 1911 Trophy Match, .45 caliber pistol, a Smith & Wesson, Model 57, .41 caliber revolver and a Sig Sauer, Model M400, .223 caliber rifle.

File Photo: Smith & Wesson, Model 57, .41 caliber revolver

File Photo: Springfield Armory, Model 1911 Trophy Match, .45 caliber pistol

He returned the weapons to the Beckley Police Department. Watson is forbidden from owning a weapon due to a 2004 felony conviction from Harrison County.

Watson was sentenced to serve 30 months in prison.

Both cases were prosecuted as a part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods program.

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