A federal judge Wednesday sentenced a 35-year-old convicted felon described as a “career criminal” to 20 years in prison for several firearms violations, including posing with a shotgun on Facebook.
Chief United States District Judge James C. Dever III ordered Rickie Markiece Atkinson of Raleigh to spend two decades behind bars after he pleaded guilty in February to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, said John Stuart Bruce, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, on Wednesday.
The incidents that resulted in Atkinson’s imprisonment included a 2015 shooting, possession of a stolen handgun and threatening posts on his Facebook page, Bruce reported in a news release.
On Sept. 10, 2015, Raleigh police officers were conducting surveillance in an effort to locate Atkinson, who was wanted for charges stemming from a shooting on Sept. 1 of that year. The officers spotted Atkinson leaving his girlfriend’s home and arrested him, Bruce said.
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Following Atkinson’s arrest, the officers discovered five rounds of .38 caliber hollow-point ammunition in his car. They searched his girlfriend’s home and found a loaded, .38 caliber revolver under a mattress in the master bedroom, Bruce reported.
Two months after that arrest, Raleigh officers searching for Atkinson were dispatched to a gas station on Person Street. They saw Atkinson hunched over in the back seat of a car and took him into custody. They found a loaded .45 caliber handgun in the seat back directly in front of where Atkinson had been sitting. Someone had obliterated the handgun’s serial number. A serial number restoration on the firearm later confirmed the weapon had been reported stolen on Nov. 7, 2015, Bruce said.
Police also found several threatening social media posts on Atkinson’s Facebook page. The posts included pictures of Atkinson wielding a shotgun on Sept. 30, 2015 and a picture of a handgun that was posted on Oct. 10, 2015, according to Bruce.
Federal prosecutors say Atkinson tried to distance himself from the weapon found at his girlfriend’s home. On Feb. 12, 2016, he contacted his girlfriend from jail and asked her to “take responsibility” for the firearm, which she declined to do, Bruce said.
Thomasi McDonald: 919-829-4533, @thomcdonald