Anoka man pleads guilty to federal firearms charge

A convicted felon from Anoka has pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to one count of being a career criminal in possession of a firearm.

Jesse Ray Bennett
Jesse Ray Bennett

Jesse Ray Bennett, 26, entered a guilty plea Aug. 2 to a felony charge of possessing a .40 caliber, semi automatic pistol and a 12-gauge shotgun. Felons are not allowed to be in possession of a firearm at any time.

Bennett’s criminal history includes a 2003 conviction for aggravated robbery in the first degree, followed by convictions for assault in the second degree in 2003 and burglary in the first degree in 2006. He was also convicted in Anoka County for being a felon in possession of a firearm in 2005 and the same offense in Hennepin County in 2006.

According to the United States Department of Justice, Bennett admitted that sometime after 2 a.m. on Nov. 11, 2011 neighbors complained to police about the noise he and his friends were making.

After police left his home, angry with the neighbors he retrieved the two guns from the bedroom of his home. He ultimately fled the scene, throwing the guns in a nearby backyard where they were recovered by police a short time later.

Bennett faces at least 15 years in prison, the minimum sentence for anyone who has at least three prior state or federal convictions for crimes of violence or serious drug crimes.

U.S. District Court Judge Ann Montgomery will determine Bennett’s actual sentence at a future hearing that has yet to be scheduled.

The federal firearms charge followed an investigation by the Anoka Police Department and the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Bennett is currently scheduled to stand trial in December in Anoka County District Court on second-degree attempted murder and second-degree assault charges.

These are in connection with a Nov. 11. 2011 shooting in which a man was injured. A warrant had been issued for Bennett’s arrest and he was apprehended at a Coon Rapids apartment Nov. 23, 2011. The trial had been scheduled for June 25, but was put on hold pending the outcome of the federal weapons charge.

Bennett is accused of shooting an acquaintance after a day of drinking at various bars in Anoka and Coon Rapids on Nov. 11, 2011.

After returning to a home on Benton Street in Anoka, the victim alleged that he and Bennett were wrestling, Bennett got angry and violent and at one point produced a semi-automatic handgun, put it to the victim’s head and fired.

According to medical personnel, the bullet glanced off the victim’s skull and lacerated the skin only, requiring staples to repair.

Mandy Moran Froemming is at [email protected]

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