COLUMBIA, SC — Michael Angelo Karrison, 47, of Columbia on Wednesday pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a weapon and ammunition in federal court after admitting to carrying a gun in the waistband of his pants while on Elmwood Avenue.
Chief U.S. District Judge Terry L. Wooten will sentence Karrison later, according to a release from the office of U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles.
Prosecutors said a Columbia Police Department officer was on patrol in the Elmwood Avenue area when he noticed Karrison sitting on a brick wall with an open can of beer next to him. Karrison admitted the alcohol was his and was placed under arrest for possession/consumption of alcohol in public. A search of Karrison, however, revealed a loaded Bersa .380 caliber handgun in his waistband. Karrison admitted to buying the firearm on the street, and a check of a law enforcement database revealed that the firearm had previously been reported as stolen, according to Nettles’ office.
Karrison previously served served time in the S.C. prison system and was prohiobited from owning or carrying a weapon or ammunition, Nettles’ office said. His prior state convictions date to 1983 and include housebreaking, grand larceny, distribution of marijuana, armed robbery (two separate counts), strong arm robbery, assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute crack cocaine, assault on a correctional employee, attempted carjacking, unlawful carrying of a firearm (two counts), and possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number.
Nettles said Karrison is a career criminal who faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years imprisonment with a maximum of life, a fine of $250,000 and a term of supervised release of five years to follow the term of imprisonment.
The case was investigated by the Columbia Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and was prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state and local Project CeaseFire initiative, which aggressively prosecutes firearm cases. Assistant U.S. Attorney Stacey D. Haynes of the Columbia office handled the case.