Columbia man sentenced to federal prison on firearm and drug charges, officials say

Updated: Apr. 12, 2021 at 5:21 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A Columbia man has been sentenced to federal prison after being convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, as well as possession of crack cocaine, officials say.

Eric Jahann Nixon, 39, was convicted by a jury following a three-day trial in federal court.

At approximately 7 p.m. on October 16, 2020, officers with the Columbia Police Department responded to Wash City Laundromat off Broad River Road after receiving several 911 calls about a man brandishing a firearm and assaulting a 65-year-old female attendant at the laundromat.

Upon arrival, officers were provided with a description of the suspect by witnesses at the scene. Witness also provided officers with video taken during the incident.

A short time later, a man walking near the crime scene was taken into custody. During a pat-down search, officers recovered a loaded Hi-Point .380 caliber handgun in the man’s waistband of his shorts. A further search revealed a pill bottle containing a baggie of 3 grams of crack cocaine and a razor blade.

The suspect was later identified as Eric Jahann Nixon. Surveillance video from the laundromat confirmed that Nixon was the man who pulled a handgun from his waistband and assaulted the laundromat attendant.

Nixon is a convicted felon and prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition under federal law.

Nixon’s prior convictions include:

  • Possession of a stolen motor vehicle (1998, Lexington County),
  • Conspiracy to commit money laundering (2005, federal conviction in Columbia)
  • Assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature (2005, Lexington County)
  • Throwing bodily fluid on a correctional officer (2005, Lexington County)
  • Indecent exposure to an adult (2010, federal conviction in West Virginia)
  • Forgery (2013, Lexington County)
  • Distribution of crack cocaine near a school (2016, Richland County)
  • Unlawful carrying of a firearm (2018, Richland County)

Nixon is facing a maximum of 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, and 3 years of supervised release on the felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition charge. Due to a prior felony drug offense, Nixon faces a minimum of 15 days to a maximum of 2 years imprisonment and a fine of $2,500 on the possession of crack cocaine charge.

Senior United States District Judge Cameron McGowan Currie of Columbia presided over the trial and will impose a sentence after she has reviewed the presentence report, which will be prepared by the United States Probation Office. According to court filings, the sentencing is scheduled for July 13, 2021.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Columbia Police Department. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Stacey D. Haynes.

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