New Tennessee law adds additional years in prison for Knoxville gang member, felon

Crips gang member sentenced to 20 years in prison for being a felon in possession of a handgun

Antonio Dewayne Sivels (Knox County Sheriff's Office)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A man who was on probation for attempted murder was sentenced to 20 years in prison for being a felon in possession of a handgun.

Antonio Dewayne Sivels, 31, pled guilty in court Tuesday, according to Knox County District Attorney Charme Allen’s Office. Sivels was arrested after an anonymous video was submitted showing Sivels holding two handguns at Austin Homes Public Housing Complex.

On August 9, Knoxville Police Department officers searched Sivels home and found a 9 mm handgun and two boxes of ammunition in a bedroom closet. He admitted that the gun was one of the weapons in the video and he had given away the other weapon.

Prosecutors said typically the charge would only carry a sentenced of one or two years, but Sivels received an enhanced sentence. A statutory amendment that took effect on July 1, 2017 increased his sentencing range 8-12 based on his criminal history.

Sivels’ first felony conviction occurred in 2015, following an incident where he chased a man from an apartment on Bell Street and shot the man twice. He was convicted of attempted second degree murder on April 16, 2015.

Additionally, prosecutors were able to use Tennessee’s gang enhancement statute to bump the sentencing range to 15-25 years. The district attorney’s office said he also admitted to being a member of the Rollin’ 20’s Crips street gang.

“Our career gang unit exists so that we can stop gang violence using every innovative legal tool at our disposal,” said Allen. “These crucial sentencing enhancements ensured that this dangerous defendant will remain behind bars and not on our streets.”

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