Joseph Sanders, 37, an inmate at the maximum security federal penitentiary at Marion, was found guilty July 18 of possessing a weapon in the prison following a bench trial, announced Ronald J. Tenpas, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois.

The trial was conducted by a U.S. district judge in the courtroom facilities at USP-Marion. Sanders was charged with the offense by a federal grand jury on May 4, 2004.

Evidence presented at trial leading to the conviction showed that on March 24, 2004, during a routine search of his cell and person by correctional officers, Sanders was found to have a homemade three and a half inch metal knife, commonly referred to in prison as a shank, concealed in his shoe.

Sanders faces up to five years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and a term of three years mandatory supervised release following incarceration.

Federal law requires that his sentence for this offense be imposed consecutively to the sentence he is already serving.

Sanders is currently serving a 25 year sentence imposed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in 1992 for being an armed career criminal in possession of a firearm.

Sanders remains in custody at Marion and will be sentenced sometime in late October. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James M. Cutchin.

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