Former Ohio sheriff’s Maj. Eric Spicer, was found guilty Friday on two of seven counts relating to the illegal acquisition and possession of a Heckler & Koch HK416 machine gun.
Late of the Greene County Sheriff’s office, Spicer, 45, was charged in April with using falsified documents to illegally obtain a machine gun from a New York firearms dealer.
Spicer allegedly forged his boss’s name on ATF forms to acquire the Heckler and Koch select-fire 5.56mm rifle for $1,684.80 in November 2009, using personal funds. However some 22 days after his termination by the agency, and while no longer employed as a law enforcement officer, federal agents searched his home and seized the illegal machine gun leading to a trial in U.S. District Court this week on charges that could have earned him up to 65 years in prison as well as $1.75 million in fines.
The jury Friday found Spicer guilty of knowingly possessing the machine gun and possessing the gun without proper registration, WDTN reported. Jurors handed down a not guilty verdict in charges of making a false statement to law enforcement, false statement during purchase of a firearm, knowingly making false entry on application or record, and possession of a firearm in violation of the National Firearms Act.
“Common sense can justify their final decision,” Assistant U.S. attorney Dwight Keller told WHIO. “We have absolutely no criticism whatsoever and we think justice was done.”
Spicer’s attorney, John David Smith, plans to appeal the two charges that stuck and was surprised at the jury’s decision.
“They found that he did not lie to get the firearm. They obviously found that the sheriff gave him permission to get the firearm,” said Smith. “The only thing I can imagine is they got hung up on whether or not he had authority to possess it on the day he got fired.”
No sentencing date has been set for the Spicer who could see as many as 15 years in prison from the charges. However, the former law enforcement officer may receive much less given his lack of a criminal record.