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Janesville man sentenced to 15 years in shooting that nearly hit bystanders

MADISON (WKOW) — Royal Powell, 36, Janesville, was sentenced to a mandatory minimum 15 years in federal prison for possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.  Powell pleaded guilty on March 20, and his prison sentence will be followed by four years of supervised release.

Prosecutors say Powell left a BP gas station in Janesville on Aug. 17, 2018, and fired a gun at a group of people standing a short distance away.

Someone shot back at Powell and the bullet went into the gas station and nearly struck a woman and her small children standing inside.  Powell fled the scene, but police officers identified him using surveillance video from the gas station.

Powell was arrested in Janesville a few weeks later and officers found the firearm used in the shooting hidden in his apartment, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Powell is prohibited from possessing firearms because he has previously been convicted of multiple felony offenses in Rock County and Cook County, Illinois, including arson, residential burglary, and substantial battery.

As a result of these violent convictions, Powell is classified as an armed career criminal and is subject to the mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years.  Furthermore, Powell was on Wisconsin state supervision for three separate felony convictions at the time of the shooting.

In sentencing Powell, Judge Conley took into account his lengthy criminal history, which included not only violent crimes but also drug offenses.  Conley said that Powell’s decision to shoot the firearm while at the BP station needlessly endangered innocent lives, according to the news release.

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