Federal Prosecutor Concentrates on Gun Cases

Hopes strategy will lower city's murder rate.

Kevin Killeen
June 21, 2018 - 4:50 pm
Gun and cartridges of 9 mm.

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Halfway through the year, the federal prosecutor in St. Louis says he's charged some 400 gun cases -- more than double this time last year.

When a gun case that might have gone to state court goes federal, U.S. Attorney Jeff Jenson says it's a different kind of justice.

"Federal sentences are really tough," Jenson said. "You have to serve 85 percent of the time, and their prisons are located far from St. Louis."

Jenson says ex-convicts from federal prisons tend to stay out of prison. He says the recidivism rate is less than 10 percent, and the unemployment rate less than 5 percent.

Among the recent cases -- a man accused of a string of armed robberies in the Central West End targeting women.

"There will probably be more charges, but we wanted to get him off the streets," Jenson said.

When the year began, Jenson said had hoped the stepped-up federal prosecution of gun cases would help lower the murder rate.

"I'm disappointed, but still hopeful," he said.

So far this year, the number of people killed city-wide is about the same as last year. Homicides have dropped in an area targeted by the new police chief, a patch of north city dubbed "Hayden's Rectangle."

Through the end of May, Jenson says he had charged 357 federal gun cases, compared with 156 this time last year.

As of today, he says he's charged 402 federal gun cases. Jenson did not have figures immediately available on the number from this date last year.