Judge sentences man who sold gun to synagogue hostage-taker to nearly 8 years

Oct. 25 (UPI) -- The man who sold a gun to a British national who used it to hold four people hostage at a Texas synagogue in January was sentenced to nearly eight years' imprisonment, federal prosecutors said.

Chief U.S. District Judge David Godbey of the Northern District of Texas sentenced 33-year-old Henry "Michael" Dwight Williams to 95 months on Monday after he pleaded guilty in June to being a felon in possession of a firearm, the Justice Department said in a statement.


Prosecutors indicted Williams early this year, accusing him of selling Malik Faisal Akram a semiautomatic pistol two days before he used it to take four people hostage on Jan. 15 at Congregation Beth Israel, a synagogue in Colleyville, which is located within the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.

Akram was killed by law enforcement following a 11-hour standoff with police.

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None of the hostages were harmed during the standoff, with one being released by Akram and the other three being rescued by police.

The pistol was retrieved from the scene by agents, and the FBI determined that Williams had sold it to Akram after reviewing the slain hostage-taker's phone records, which showed that the two had repeated phone calls days earlier.


Police arrested Williams on Jan. 24 on an outstanding state warrant, and when presented with a picture of Akram he confessed to having sold him a handgun on Jan. 13 at a South Dallas intersection.

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"This defendant, a convicted felon, had no business carrying -- much less buying and selling -- firearms," U.S. Attorney Chad Meacham said in a statement. "Whether he suspected his buyer would use the gun to menace a community of faith is legally irrelevant: In the U.S., convicted felons cannot possess firearms."

Williams was previously convicted for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and attempted possession of a controlled substance.

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