Feds give Manchester woman six months for buyng Mass. felon a handgunBy PAUL FEELY
New Hampshire Union Leader
June 19. 2018 9:22PM
CONCORD — A Manchester woman was sentenced Tuesday to six months in federal prison for buying a gun for a convicted felon from Massachusetts.
Jessica Fithian, 34, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Concord, U. S. Attorney Scott Murray announced.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Fithian agreed with co-defendant Matthew Bergeron to purchase a firearm, ammunition and an extended magazine on Bergeron’s behalf in July and August 2016, from Riley’s Sport Shop in Hooksett.
Fithian purchased a Glock 23 .40 S&W with a 22-round magazine and seven boxes of ammunition in July. Fithian and Bergeron traveled to Riley’s together during the sale. According to court documents, Bergeron showed the Manchester woman pictures of the guns he wanted and waited in a car while the transactions were completed.
The plan caught the attention of authorities in August 2016 when police in Leominster, Mass., recovered the Glock 23 at the scene of a shooting involving Bergeron. As he was a prohibited from possessing firearms, a trace led officials to Fithian, who initially told investigators she had bought the handgun for protection and it had subsequently been stolen though she never reported a theft to police.
After being told the gun was taken from Bergeron — whom she had only known by the street name “Blue” — after a shooting, Fithian changed her story and told police she bought the gun in collusion with him.
Fithian then cooperated with investigators, providing them with text messages with Bergeron about the handguns as well as a photograph.
A federal grand jury indicted Fithian and Bergeron in November of 2016. Bergeron was sentenced to 78 months imprisonment in June 2017 after pleading guilty. Fithian pleaded guilty in March 2017.
Once Fithian completes her six-month sentence, she will serve three years of supervised release.
“In order to reduce violent crime and protect our community, we must prevent convicted felons from obtaining firearms” said U.S. Attorney Murray in a statement. “The imposition of a prison sentence in this case should serve as a warning to those who would be willing to provide firearms to felons.”
ATF Assistant Special Agent in Charge Lawrence Panetta said in a statement that the ATF is determined to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.
“Far too many violent crimes result from straw purchasers buying guns for people who are prohibited from having them,” he said. “ATF will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to pursue and arrest those who commit these criminal acts.”