Last September you may recall hearing about Ryan Jerome’s arrest in NYC under a felony gun possession charge. He voluntarily checked in his firearm at the Empire State Building, as it was legally registered in another state, and he believed he was in compliance with the law. Possession of a firearm that the owner did not register in NYC is a major offense, under New York City’s local laws.
Jerome, a 28-year-old jeweler from Indiana, carried his legally registered Ruger P345, to the Big Apple since he also happened to be carrying $15,000 in gold to a refinery in Long Island. NYC police arrested him on the spot at the entrance of the Empire State Building.
What the Manhattan District Attorney’s office didn’t expect was the enormous uproar in support of Jerome. Fellow marines rushed to the rescue when the news of his arrest went national.
“It is just overwhelming, the love and support I am receiving from my fellow Marines,” said Jerome, who was a TOW gunner before his honorable discharge in 2005.
In light of the overwhelming support for Jerome, the prosecution offered a plea deal to a misdemeanor with no jail time. However, Jerome adamantly refuses any deal. He wants all charges dropped. Period.
It is a felony to possess a handgun in New York City whether the owner registered the gun anywhere else or not. Those caught violating this draconian statute face a mandatory three and a half-year sentence, but defense attorneys often reach lesser plea deals due to prosecutorial discretion.
“We continue to believe the case should be dismissed outright,” said Jerome’s lawyer, Mark Bederow.
A document released regarding the case states: “The New York District Attorney‘s Office is offering to allow your client to plead guilty to a single Class ’A’ misdemeanor in full satisfaction of all charges.” The prosecutor heading the up the case apparently addressed the letter to Jerome’s attorney.
New York City has seen an outbreak of tourist gun arrests in recent months.
Cheaper Than Dirt will continue to update you on developments in the case against Ryan Jerome in the coming weeks.