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Iowa felon sentenced to federal prison for gun possession and cyberstalking

This news story was published on October 11, 2019.
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SIOUX CITY – A Sioux City man with a criminal history that included a domestic violence conviction, and a felony conviction was sentenced October 7, 2019 to more 13 years in federal prison.

Freddy Bernal, age 33, from Sioux City, Iowa, received the prison term after a March 23, 2019, jury verdict finding him guilty of one count of possessing a firearm and ammunition as a prohibited person, and one count of cyberstalking

Evidence at trial showed that on or about December 5, 2017, police were dispatched to the victim’s home where they found a gun that defendant, nicknamed “Trigger” for his habit of carrying a gun, had hidden at the home, and where officers learned of the unwelcome course of conduct defendant had visited upon the victim for a number of years.

Defendant’s pattern of behavior toward the victim included a string of threating text messages, frequent voice calls stating he was watching the victim and was going to kill her, and indirect calls by people calling on defendant’s behalf, demanding the victim call defendant. Finally, an incident where defendant held the victim’s baby out the window of a moving car to threaten and harass her.

The jury found, as a result of defendant’s course of conduct, the victim was placed in fear of death or serious injury to herself, and defendant caused substantial emotional distress to the victim.

Bernal had previously been convicted of multiple felony offenses including convictions for Willful Injury Causing Serious Injury; Criminal Gang Participation; Felony Theft; and Domestic Abuse Assault.

Bernal was sentenced in Sioux City by United States District Court Chief Judge Leonard T. Strand. Bernal was sentenced to 156 months’ imprisonment. He must also serve a three-year term of supervised release after the prison term. There is no parole in the federal system.

“No one should be subjected to the kind of threatening and dangerous conduct that Freddy Bernal displayed in this case,” said U.S. Attorney Deegan. “I want to commend Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ford Fairchild and Margaret Groban and Senior Trial Attorney Mona Sedky for their outstanding work in bringing Bernal to justice.”

Bernal is being held in the United States Marshal’s custody until he can be transported to a federal prison. There is no parole in the federal system

The case was investigated by the Sioux City Police Department and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Forde Fairchild with the assistance of Assistant United States Attorney Margaret S. Groban, National Domestic Violence Coordinator of the USDOJ’s Office of Legal Programs and Senior Trial Attorney Mona Sedky, USDOJ’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section.

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