Rock Hill Man with Pending Attempted Murder Charge Sentenced to 15 Years in Federal Prison for Illegally Possessing Gun

Rock Hill, S.C. (CN2 News) – William Allen Austin, 50, of Rock Hill, was sentenced to 188 months (basically 15.5 years) in federal prison after pleading guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.

The Department of Justice says evidence presented to the court showed that on March 1, 2022, Austin drove to Pineville, NC, to stab his ex-girlfriend while she was at a new job orientation.  Surveillance footage captured Austin driving into and fleeing from the facility, and witnesses identified him. The victim of the attack had an emergency protective order against Austin because of repeated threatening and harassing conduct from Austin, including slashing her car tires, following her to a hotel, sending threatening messages, and throwing a brick through her house window.

Austin was subsequently arrested by the York County Sheriff’s Office and the United States Marshals Service on March 3, 2022, for attempted murder related to the March 1 stabbing. At the time of his arrest, Austin possessed a 9mm Taurus pistol, which was loaded.  Federal law prohibits Austin from possessing firearms or ammunition due to numerous prior felony drug convictions.

After Austin was released on bond out of Mecklenburg County, evidence showed that on April 4, 2022, Austin set fire to the victim’s residence in Rock Hill, SC. Surveillance footage showed Austin parking on a street behind the victim’s residence and walking towards her house, before running back to his vehicle. Within minutes of Austin leaving the scene, smoke was visible on surveillance video. York County Fire Department responded to the victim’s home, which was severely damaged and deemed uninhabitable.

United States District Court Judge Mary Geiger Lewis sentenced Austin to 188 months in prison to be followed by a five-year term of court-ordered supervision.  There is no parole in the federal system.

The case was prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime.  Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.  As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

The case was investigated by the York County Sheriff’s Office, the York County Fire Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Assistant U.S. Attorney Elle E. Klein is prosecuting the case.

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