The owner of a local pawn shop who pleaded guilty to a federal firearm charge in October was sentenced to five months in prison Monday in U.S. District Court in Pikeville.
U.S. District Judge Robert Weir said Wesley Robinson, 57, owner and operator of Wesley’s Pawn Shop on North Mayo Trail in Pikeville, received a variance from his sentencing guidelines based on Robinson’s lack of criminal history and his character. Robinson pleaded guilty to a charge of illegal possession of a machinegun, for the purchase and possession of a modified Uzi 9mm. Robinson purchased the weapon through the pawn shop in Dec. 2017, but it was located at his residence in Feb. 2018.
The charge called for a sentence of between 24 and 30 months incarceration. Weir sentenced Robinson to five months incarceration and 24 months supervised release, the first five months of which is to be served as home detention. Robinson was also fined $5,000 for the charge.
Assistant U.S Attorney Andrew Trimble had asked for 26 months incarceration and Robinson’s defense attorney Steve
Owens asked for a a sentence of home detention.
Weir said the sentence recommendation from Trimble was “far too harsh,” and the sentence recommendation from Owens “dramatically understates the seriousness of the crime.”
The events in the case by Trimble and Weir was that a man had stolen items, including the machinegun, a pistol and a Rolex watch, from his father prior to bringing those items to Wesley’s Pawn Shop in December. Robinson accepted the items, registering the pistol in his acquisitions book through the business, but neither the Rolex or the machinegun were registered.
Weir said those “circumstances trouble me,” that he “did not record this firearm, but did record the other” with Robinson being “an experienced firearm purchaser.”
Robinson had previously stated he only became aware of the automatic nature of the weapon after firing the weapon on his own in February. Weir said when Robinson became aware of the firearm being automatic, he “did not take legitimate action,” but instead “explored other options,” including contacting someone “in-the-know” about steps Robinson could take to make the firearm legal.
When law enforcement came to question Robinson about the machinegun and the Rolex, with the initial man now having been charged with the theft of the items, Robinson “was initially deceptive.” Weir acknowledged that Robinson’s deception “was corrected the same day on second contact.”
The sentencing hearing lasted almost three hours due to multiple character witnesses all testifying to Robinson’s role as a “stellar” member of the community and his church community. Weir said Robinson’s “history and characteristics are thoroughly positive” and he was “blessed to have the support of those” who packed almost half of the federal courtroom during his sentencing Monday.
“I have found them credible and worthy of respect,” Weir said.
Weir said it was notable when someone has that number of people who come to their support.
Those witnesses who testified Monday included family members, church members and local leaders with Weir also saying he received 31 letters in reference to Robinson in the case.
Robinson, who has remained free on bond in the case, must report to the U.S. Marshals office on March 4 to begin to serve his five months incarceration.