Henry “Michael” Dwight Williams, the man who sold the gun to the Texas synagogue hostage taker earlier this year, has been sentenced to nearly eight years in federal prison, authorities said.
Malik Faisal Akram, 44, held four people hostage for 10 hours at the Congregation Beth Israel Synagogue in Colleyville in the Dallas-Fort Worth area last January. The hostages were safely evacuated and Akram was shot dead by law enforcement officers.
Williams sold Akram a Taurus G2C semi-automatic pistol on January 13. In plea documents, Williams admitted to possessing the gun despite his conviction, according to Chad Meacham of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas.
“This defendant, a convicted felon, had no reason to carry – let alone buy and sell – firearms. That he suspected his buyer would use the gun to threaten a community of faith does not has no legal significance: in the United States, convicted felons cannot own firearms,” Meacham said.
The FBI was able to uncover cellphone records linking Williams to Akram. The two men exchanged several phone calls from January 11 to 13, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
After being arrested on an outstanding warrant in January, Williams told investigators he sold the handgun to Akram at a south Dallas intersection.
Williams was charged in January, charged in February and pleaded guilty to the charge in June. A federal judge handed down the sentence on Monday. He had previously been convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and attempted possession of a controlled substance.
“The Department of Justice is committed to prosecuting those who violate our country’s federal gun laws, which are designed to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous offenders. We are grateful to the FBI, who intervened as soon as the hostage crisis at the synagogue began, and to the officers who worked tirelessly to track Mr. Akram’s gun to the accused,” Meacham said.