Utah man gets 8-year sentence

Casper Star-Tribune (WY)/January 7, 2005
By Tom Morton

A Utah man arrested nearly a year ago will spend eight years and nine months in federal prison for possession of explosive devices and other crimes including being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to the sentence handed down Friday by Chief U.S. District Judge William Downes in federal court in Casper.

Troy Kenneth Howard and Chancey Reynolds were arrested Feb. 16 after their rental Dodge Durango and its trailer was pulled over for a traffic violation on Interstate 80 in Laramie County, according to court records.

Law enforcement officers found the pipe bombs and closed down a section of the highway.

Federal agents found devices similar to pipe bombs, multiple false driver's licenses, blank driver's license paper, stolen credit cards and blank checks, according to the U.S. Attorney's indictment filed on May 19.

Federal authorities also determined that the men were members of white supremacist groups, according to court documents.

Howard of Riverton, Utah, had been wanted on an outstanding warrant for forgery in Utah.

Reynolds of Salt Lake City had entered a plea agreement on May 20.

Downes sentenced Reynolds on Sept. 29 to five years and 11 months imprisonment for possession of a destructive device not registered in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, being a felon in possession of a firearm, being a fugitive in possession of a firearm, possession of forgery equipment, possession of false identification, and unlawful use of a means of identification.

Howard, 33, entered a plea agreement with the federal government on July 1.

Friday, Downes sentenced Howard for possession of a destructive device, being a felon in possession of a firearm, possession of forgery equipment, possession of false identification, and unlawful use of a means of identification, according to court documents.

The plea agreement stipulated that Howard could have been sentenced to up to 150 months, but Downes determined that a penalty enhancement for that sentence was inappropriate, so the sentencing range was reduce to between 84 and 105 months.

Howard's attorney Ron Pretty of Cheyenne told Downes that his client should receive the low end of the sentence.

But Howard's criminal history warranted the longer sentence, Downes said. "Your client just got a 45-month windfall."

Pretty still pressed for a lesser sentence, saying that Howard's fiance just had a baby daughter in Kentucky. "It would be best if he gets out early to raise the child," Pretty said.

Howard told the court that he was sorry for his choices and takes responsibility for them.

"The true punishment is that I wouldn't be able to be with her," Howard said.

Neither Pretty's nor Howard's comments swayed Downes as he imposed the 105-month sentence.

"I hope for your sake, sir, that you make the right choices," Downes said.

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