Pennsylvania Man With Long Criminal Record, Faces Potential Life in Prison

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PITTSBURGH, PA — After deliberating for approximately one hour, a federal jury of six men and six women found James Taric Byrd guilty Thursday of three counts of federal narcotics trafficking and firearms charges, United States Attorney Cindy K. Chung announced.

Byrd, 45, formerly of Pittsburgh’s Lincoln Park section, was tried before United States District Judge Cathy Bissoon in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

According to Assistant United States Attorneys Brendan T. Conway and Benjamin J. Risacher, who prosecuted the case, the evidence presented at trial established that on February 23, 2015, the McKeesport Police Department, while responding to a call after Byrd threatened to shoot up a house in McKeesport, arrested Byrd. On his person and in his vehicle, officers found a loaded and stolen firearm, a bulletproof vest, and quantities of heroin, cocaine, and marijuana. The defendant has numerous prior felony convictions, including for robbery, kidnapping, aggravated assault, obstruction of justice, and illegal gun possession, and he was therefore prohibited by federal law from possessing firearms and ammunition.

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During the trial, the defendant assaulted his counsel, and the trial continued without the defendant. The defendant, however, returned to the courtroom and testified.

Judge Bissoon scheduled sentencing for Dec. 5, 2022. The law provides for a maximum total sentence of life in prison, a fine of $1,500,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based on the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history of the defendant.

The McKeesport Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Byrd.

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