Missouri man pleads guilty to possessing illegal handgun used in shooting

Guilty Plea

An Independence, Missouri, man pleaded guilty in federal court to illegally possessing a firearm that was used to shoot another man in the leg, using the victim’s own illegally-possessed firearm.

William D. Fullbright, 29, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lajuana M. Counts to being a felon in possession of a firearm.

By pleading guilty, Fullbright admitted that he possessed a loaded Ruger 9mm pistol, which belonged to Colby Srite, 30, of Independence, and was used to shoot Srite in the leg. When Independence police officers responded to a residence in the 3600 block of N. Pleasant Street on Sept. 3, 2019, there was a brief standoff with the officers, which ended when Srite came running up the stairs from the basement having been shot in the leg and yelling, “He’s got a gun!” Fullbright attempted to escape through a downstairs door and fled on foot with an officer in pursuit. During the pursuit, Fullbright jumped over a fence and discarded the firearm along the fence line. As the officer searched for Fullbright, he heard a cell phone ringing near the fence line and found Fullbright attempting to hide. Fullbright was taken into custody and later showed officers where the pistol had been discarded.

Srite pleaded guilty in a separate case on Sept. 17, 2020, to being a felon in possession of a firearm. 

Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition. Fullbright has prior felony convictions for unlawful use of a weapon and burglary. Srite has a prior felony conviction for possession of a controlled substance.

Under federal statutes, Fullbright and Srite each are subject to a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

These cases are being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Caleb J. Aponte, who is a cross-designated prosecutor from the Missouri Attorney General’s office as part of the Safer Streets Initiative to combat violent crime. They were investigated by the Independence, Mo., Police Department.