OAKLAND — James David Allen II was convicted by a federal jury of felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, U.S. Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds and FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert C. Tripp announced. The verdict came after a three-day jury trial before U.S. District Court Judge the Honorable Haywood S. Gilliam Jr.
Evidence in court showed Allen, 37, of Everett, Washington, had a prior felony conviction and was found sleeping in a stolen vehicle in a residential area of Pinole, California by officers of the Pinole Police Department. Allen told officers he was on his way from Washington state to San Francisco, California. A search of the vehicle revealed a loaded AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle. The rifle was immediately within reach of the driver’s hand as it was pointed barrel down with the rear end resting against the front edge of the passenger seat. The weapon was equipped with a loaded, high-capacity 30-round magazine. Upon receiving the rifle, the arresting officers found a live round chambered and a fire control switch set to “fire.” A second loaded, high-capacity 30-round magazine was taped to the first magazine; the second magazine was placed opposite so that the shooter could drop the first magazine from the rifle and easily flip it over to insert the second loaded magazine. In addition, a third loaded, high-capacity magazine was found in the trunk of the vehicle.
Additional evidence at trial showed that the rifle bore hand-drawn markings, including Allen’s initials (JDAII) and his alias. Arresting officers found a total of 79 rounds of 5.56mm NATO caliber ammunition matching the barrel of the rifle. Evidence presented in court included Allen’s statement when he was taken to Martinez’s jail that he wished the officers had made a traffic stop instead because he would have had a “shoot out” with them.
Allen was indicted by a federal grand jury on July 23, 2020, charging him with one count of possession of a firearm and ammunition in violation of 18 USC 922(g)(1). Allen was convicted of this offense in November 2020; however, the original conviction was overturned on appeal after the Court of Appeals concluded that restrictions on public access to the courtroom during his trial, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, violated federal constitutional guarantees of a public hearing.
Judge Gilliam scheduled Allen’s sentencing hearing for March 1, 2023. The maximum statutory penalty for a violation of 18 USC § 922(g)(1) is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. However, any sentence will be determined by the court only after considering the US Sentencing Guidelines and the federal sentencing statute, 18 USC § 3553.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Noah Stern and Kelly Volkar, assisted by Lance Libatik, are prosecuting the case. The charges stem from an investigation by the FBI and the Pinole Police Department.