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Richard Starghill

A Pikeville man was convicted by a federal jury on Thursday evening, for being a felon in possession of a pistol and sawed-off shotgun, according to a statement from the office of U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky Robert M. Duncan Jr.

According to testimony at trial, the statement said, the Kentucky State Police responded to a complaint that Richard Starghill had refused to leave another person’s residence. He was then found in possession of a loaded revolver and a sawed-off shotgun. Starghill has a lengthy criminal history involving multiple convictions for drug trafficking and a recent conviction for felony assault, the statement said.

Duncan, James Robert Brown, FBI Louisville Field Office, and Rodney Brewer, Kentucky State Police commissioner, jointly announced the conviction.

The investigation was conducted by FBI and KSP. The U.S. Attorney’s Office was represented in the case by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nick Rabold.

Starghill will appear for sentencing on June 12. He faces up to a maximum of life in prison. However, the Court must consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the applicable federal sentencing statutes before imposing a sentence.

The statement said the case against Starghill was prosecuted as a part of the Department of Justice’s “Project Safe Neighborhoods” Program (PSN), which is a nationwide, crime reduction strategy aimed at decreasing violent crime in communities. It involves a comprehensive approach to public safety — one that includes investigating and prosecuting crimes, along with prevention and reentry efforts. In the Eastern District of Kentucky, Duncan coordinates PSN efforts in cooperation with various federal, state, and local law enforcement officials.

The statement said the case is also 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; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities.

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