Former Ohio Law Enforcement Officer Convicted of Illegal Possession of a Machine Gun
A former sheriff’s deputy from Greene County, Ohio has been found guilty of knowingly illegally acquiring and possessing a machine gun.
Maj. Eric Spicer was arrested in April and accused of using forged documents to obtain a post-1986 manufactured machine gun from a firearms dealer in New York state.
The gun in question was a select fire Heckler & Koch HK416. Spicer was fired from his position after he was involved in the shooting of a suspect in 2013. The appeal of his termination is ongoing. Central to the case was the fact that Spicer continued to possess the firearm three weeks after being fired. It was found in his home be federal agents.
Interestingly, the jury found Spicer not-guilty on the charge of forging the form to obtain the firearm. This would seem to imply that the jury believed him when he said his boss, the sheriff, gave him permission to make the purchase. Spicer’s attorney agrees and said as much in an interview with local media:
Defense attorney John David Smith, who said an appeal would be filed, said he was disappointed the jury found his client guilty of anything.
“They found that he did not lie to get the firearm. They obviously found that the sheriff gave him permission to get the firearm,” Smith said. “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.”
Perhaps is attorney is attempting to make the argument that since Mr. Spicer’s appeal of his termination was not finalized, then he might have still had the authority to possess a machine gun under the law enforcement exemption to the law.
Spicer was found guilty on 2 of the 7 counts he was charged with.
Count 1: Illegal possession of a machine gun
Count 6: Possession of unregistered firearm
He could face up 15 years in prison if he was sentenced to the maximum amount of time for each conviction and if they were served consecutively. However, Spicer will likely face a much lower sentence and may even avoid jail altogether depending on how his sentencing hearing goes.