HOUSTON – Pamela Leggett, 32, of Anhuac, has been handed a 15-year prison sentence following her conviction of conspiracy to illegally make and possess unregistered firearms, including bombs, and to aiding and abetting illegal possession of an unlawful machine gun, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today along with Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Special Agent-in-Charge Melvin King Jr. Leggett pleaded guilty March 30, 2012.
Today, U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon, who accepted the guilty plea, handed Leggett the 180-month sentence. Leggett was given the statutory maximum of 120 months for possession of an unlawful machine gun and 60 months for conspiracy to make and possess the unregistered firearms and bombs, with her sentences to run consecutively. At the hearing today, the Judge listened to argument about to what degree Leggett contributed to the events that led to the death of a deputy sheriff and noted the lengthy sentence should reflect the seriousness of the crime and the need to protect the community.
The charges and subsequent conviction arose from an altercation with local authorities on July 13, 2009, during which the deputy was shot and killed.
On that morning, two utility workers arrived at the residence to turn off the water for non-payment of the utility bill, at which time Leggett fired two shots in their direction, telling them to get off the property. The utility workers immediately dialed 911. Four officers immediately responded, one of which was aware that a man, woman and child resided at the home. The officers approached the front door, knocked and announced themselves to be police. When no one responded, one of the deputies loudly ordered they open the door or police would force entry. No one responded. Shortly thereafter, Leggett opened the front door and exited the home, at which time a deputy saw a weapon tucked into her waistband which he soon confiscated.
According to court records, deputies were told by Leggett that there was no one else in the home, however, concerned there was a child present and for potential safety, officers entered the home. Hearing rustling noises, the officers continued to announce they were the police and to come out, when suddenly, shots were fired through a wall and a deputy was immediately struck twice in the head and killed. A flurry of gunfire was exchanged and law enforcement withdrew from the house, dragging the deputy with them.
Shortly thereafter, additional law enforcement agencies and officers arrived on the scene, surrounded the house and were in a perceived stand off because no one within the home would respond. Eventually, a front end loader was utilized to tear down a wall of the home and police observed a man inside with a fatal gunshot wound to his head. A subsequent autopsy concluded that the cause of his death was a self-inflicted gunshot to the head.
A search warrant was later executed on the home where 122 improvised explosive devices, stores of precursor chemicals for making explosives, a guide book on explosives assembly, a machine gun, an illegal short barrel rifle and three illegal silencers, along with assorted other weapons were discovered. Records revealed Leggett was the person responsible for ordering many of the precursor chemicals used to assemble the destructive devices. She also admitted to labeling many of the storage containers that held those precursor chemicals. One of Leggett’s fingerprints was also discovered on the underside of tape that was affixed to one of the destructive devices during its assembly. Law enforcement was also able to trace the paperwork for initial purchase of the short barrel firearm and for the weapon that was later converted to be a machine gun. In each case, Leggett was the purchaser.
During an interview with law enforcement, Leggett admitted she knew of the machine gun and was willing to accept responsibility for being in possession of the weapon.
Leggett will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
This investigation leading to the federal charges was conducted by the Texas Rangers, FBI, ATF, the Chambers County Sheriff‘s Office, the Baytown Police Department, the Bay Area Regional Bomb Squad, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Houston Police Department, Metro Police Department Bomb Squad and the Pasadena Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney John D. Jocher is prosecuting the case.