By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Swainsboro man indicted on weapons charges
Joshua Jerome Russell
Joshua Jerome Russell

A Swainsboro man is among six defendants facing federal charges, including illegal possession of firearms, after separate indictments by a grand jury in the Southern District of Georgia. At the same time, seven residents of Southeast Georgia either pled guilty or were sentenced for illegal gun possession. 

Joshua Jerome Russell, 27, of Swainsboro is charged with possession of a firearm in a school zone and discharge of a firearm in a school zone

Russell’s case and the others were being investigated as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods in collaboration with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The agencies include the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the FBI, to reduce violent crime with measures that include targeting convicted felons who illegally carry guns.

“As many of our communities continue to fight violent crime, it is vital that law enforcement agencies work together to remove criminals with guns from our streets,” said David H. Estes, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. “We will continue to hold accountable those who endanger our neighborhoods by illegally possessing and using firearms.”  

In the past four years, more than 770 defendants have been federally charged in the Southern District of Georgia for illegal firearms offenses – most often for possessing a firearm after conviction for a previous felony.

In addition to Russell, the following defendants were named in federal indictments from the September 2022 term of the U.S. District Court grand jury include:

  • Terran L. Jones, 25, of Fort Myers, Fla., charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana, and using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime; and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
  • Windsor Hodge, 64, of Martinez, charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
  • Nicholas Robinson, 22, of Savannah, charged with three counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
  • Donald D. Walker, 27, of Hinesville, charged with false statement during the attempted purchase of a firearm.
  • Carl Williams, 52, of Savannah, charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Criminal indictments contain only charges; defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Additional defendants recently were adjudicated on federal charges that include illegal firearms possession:

  • Deon McWhorter, 36, of Brunswick, was sentenced to 82 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to possession of af by a Convicted felon. Brunswick Police officers found McWhorter asleep at the wheel of his vehicle, which was parked in the roadway, in August 2020; while taking McWhorter into custody, offices found a pistol in his pocket.
  • Jamie Lee Cogan, 38, of Thomson, was sentenced to 77 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release and fined $1,500 after pleading guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Columbia County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Cogan in April 2021 after finding him in possession of a pistol. Cogan was being sought at the time by Pickens County, Ga., authorities on a warrant for violating probation.
  • Pernell D. Scott, 33, of Hephzibah, was sentenced to 36 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release and fined $1,500 after pleading guilty to with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Richmond County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Scott after an October 2019 traffic stop when he was found in possession of a pistol.
  • Willie Joe Liddell, 38, of Augusta, was sentenced to 30 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Richmond County Sheriff’s deputies were assisting the U.S. Marshals Service in arresting Liddell on an outstanding warrant when they discovered a pistol in Liddell’s jacket pocket.
  • Shaquille Green, a/k/a “OC,” a/k/a “Scrill Rip Chop,” 28, of Savannah, was sentenced to 24 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Savannah Police arrested Green in October 2021 after investigating a report of a man brandishing a pistol during a youth football game.
  • James Wayne Cooper Jr., 37, of Waynesboro, Ga., awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Burke County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Cooper in October 2020 after Cooper drove into a field and attempted to run away from a traffic stop. Deputies found a loaded pistol in Cooper’s vehicle.
  • Harry Telfair, 60, of Savannah, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Savannah Police officers arrested Telfair March 5, 2021, after a domestic violence report in which Telfair fired multiple shots inside his home while others were present.

Agencies investigating these cases include the ATF, the FBI, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Savannah Police Department and the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.

Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter