GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Paul Leon Heathcoe, 53, of Moss Point, pleaded guilty Friday before U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden to illegal possession of a sawed-off shotgun.
On July 21, 2018, a woman arrived at the emergency room of a hospital in Jackson County and informed law enforcement that Heathcoe had assaulted her and was in possession of a sawed-off shotgun.
Heathcoe is a convicted felon and therefore prohibited from legally possessing a firearm. As a result, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office deputies obtained an arrest warrant for Heathcoe and a search warrant for his residence.
During the search, deputies discovered a shotgun with a barrel measuring a little over 12 inches and an overall length of approximately 19 inches. Both the stock and the barrel had been cut off. Law enforcement also found a modified holster that Heathcoe used to wear the shotgun around the house, according to the victim.
The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms investigated the case. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Annette Williams.
Heathcoe will be sentenced by Judge Ozerden on March 19, 2020, at 11 a.m. and faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.