YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Willie Daniel Jr. has been shot, been shot at, and served prison time for being involved in a shooting.
His attorney this week asked a federal judge to take that into account when he is sentenced on a weapons charge.
Daniel, 26, is set to be sentenced Thursday by Judge Benita Y. Pearson in the U.S. Northern District Court Of Ohio on a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm. His attorney, federal public defender Jacqueline Johnson, is asking for a sentence of no more than 66 months in prison.
The charge stems from a June 16, 2021 traffic stop by Youngstown police on the East Side.
In 2015, Daniel was sentenced to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to charges of attempted murder and aggravated robbery for an incident in 2012. That conviction bars him from having a firearm.
Jordan said her client has had an up close and personal relationship with gun violence, which has impacted his life and his behavior.
In 1999, his father was shot and left paralyzed.
In 2010, he was in a vehicle that was shot at multiple times but was not hit.
In 2011, two of his cousins were wounded in a drive by shooting at an aunt’s house.
In 2012, another cousin was killed during an argument and an uncle was murdered.
In 2013, while on bond in the robbery case, he was shot and wounded after someone fired several shots at a car he was riding in.
In her memorandum. Johnson wrote that when her client was released from prison in 2021, he was not prepared to reenter society. She wrote that studies have shown that incarceration during a person’s teen and early adult years are associated with mental health problems later on in life.
When Daniel was released, he heard someone wanted to kill him because of the 2012 robbery, so he got a gun to protect himself.
His home life before he went to prison also had an impact on him, Johnson wrote. Daniel’s parents had substance issues after his father was shot and he often witnessed his father beating his mother, the memorandum said.
Johnson also asked Judge Pearson to consider that her client still has to be sentenced on a parole violation for the robbery charge which will not take place until his federal sentence is completed.
When he was arrested by city police in 2021, reports said Daniel was a passenger in a car pulled over at North Garland and Grandview avenues on the east side for excessive window tint. The driver of the car had a valid concealed carry permit and gave police two handguns, including one that had a drum magazine, reports said.
When Daniel was asked to get out of the car because a police dog was on the way, reports said there was a .380-caliber semiautomatic handgun next to him and a 9mm handgun with an extended magazine underneath him.