A Rolla man was found guilty of unlawful possession of a firearm at a Phelps County bench trial and now faces up to seven years in prison.
Phelps County Circuit Judge William Hickle found Michael Fellows, 59, of Rolla, guilty of unlawful possession of a firearm. Phelps County Assistant Prosecutor Bill Hudson, who handled the case, said in a statement issued on Tuesday, “By enforcing the law against felons in possession, we hope to strengthen the rights of lawful and responsible gun owners.”
Fellows’ charge stemmed from an April 2018 incident when police responded to a report of an individual acting suspicious and carrying a gun at a Rolla motel. Police asked Fellows if he had a firearm at the motel, and Fellows' said he did. Fellows then led police to his truck where police found a loaded .22 caliber, according to the statement issued by the prosecutor’s office on Tuesday.
Fellows was unable to possess firearms due to prior felony convictions that Rolla Police Officer Jaron Ratliff, who led the investigation, found after conducting a background check. The gun was then seized as evidence. Fellows then tried to get the gun returned to him a few weeks later stating in a written request, “It’s mine. Rolla Police took it from me,” according to the statement issued by the prosecutor’s office.
“Americans’ Second Amendment rights are unique and uniquely important. But due process of law removes those rights from someone convicted of a felony, ” Hudson said.
Fellows’ sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 7, 2019. He faces up to seven years in prison.