(STL.News) – United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces the return of an indictment charging Kayden James Billings (22, Oxford) with possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. If convicted, Billings faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison.
According to court documents, in February 2020, Billings was released from state following three separate convictions. On April 11, 2020, a female companion drove Billings to an Ocala gas station. She ran inside to ask the clerk to summon police because Billings had been battering her and threatening her with a firearm. Two officers from the Ocala Police Department quickly responded and Billings fled from the gas station on foot. As he ran across Pine Avenue, Billings discarded a loaded .45 caliber handgun, along with his driver license. Billings surrendered after the pursuing officer caught up with him and threated to deploy a Taser. The firearm, which had been previously reported stolen in Marion County, was identified by the victim as the same one Billings had used to threaten and batter her.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Ocala Police Department. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael P. Felicetta.
This case is a part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes.