DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Federal District Judge Thomas Rose left little doubt he saw a connection between Ethan Kollie’s drug use and illegal possession of firearms, and the Oregon District shooting on Aug. 4, 2019, that left nine people dead and 29 wounded.
Kollie – who pled guilty in November to one count of possessing a firearm while using drugs and another count of falsifying a federal firearms form – was sentenced to 32 months in prison by Rose on Thursday, including three years probation.
Kollie received a 32-month sentence and three years probation for each charge against him. He’s serving the sentences concurrently.
“We concluded both of your violations in their own right,” Rose directed at Kollie. “But it’s also serious due to the circumstances that surrounded and flowed from them.”
Kollie bought an upper receiver and a 100-round drum for Oregon District shooter Connor Betts, which were part of the weapon Betts used in the shooting as well as body armor. Kollie was never brought on charges for those purchases because they were legal to buy and Patel said it couldn’t be proven beyond a reasonable doubt Kollie knew of Betts plans.
“There’s no way to separate the two,” Patel said. “The crimes that Mr. Kollie pleaded guilty to are intertwined with the events of Aug. 4.”
Patel said his office has charged individuals for similar crimes in the past, and that Kollie’s ability to make sound judgments while possessing firearms is one of the reasons Congress passed the law in the first place.
“Impaired judgment is a large part of this case,” Patel said. “This is serious business. When someone like Mr. Kollie, has not just guns but four of them, two of them semi-automatic weapons and one of them he assembles ultimately for the shooter – it’s a domino in a series of dominos that go into that shooting. You take some of those dominos out, some stay up but others could have fallen.”
In a press release following the sentencing, US Attorney David DeVillers said: “Kollie will forever be connected to the tragic events of Aug. 4, 2019 in Dayton, Ohio. He bought the upper receiver to the AM-15, a 100-round double drum magazine and body armor for Betts.”
Kollie’s defense attorney Nick Gournaris said the prosecution should have focused more on Kollie’s cooperation after he was served with a search warrant.
“According to the General Accounting Office, almost 13,000 (of these types of charges) were investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms,” Gournaris said. “Only 12 were ever prosecuted by a US Attorney’s office and of those 12, only a few were the only charge, most of these cases they were secondary or third charges.
“What I tried to express in my pleadings with the judge is at the time it was a very fluid (situation). Like with reporters who are like, ‘What’s happening what’s going on,’ investigators are in the same boat. Is there more to this? Is there other shooters? What does Mr. Kollie do? he says tell me what I can do to help. He cooperates and he provides information. he sits down multiple times with federal authorities so they can understand things, so they can say this lead is closed and see if this guy is involved. He cooperated and he would do it again. He’s a good person.”
Gouarnaris said Kollie was swept up in the events of the shooting. That’s what ultimately led to his prosecution and sentence. He said the judge has to follow the sentencing guidelines for the case, but he questioned why the US District Attorney’s office brought the charges to court.
“(The) more important question is when the US Attorney says it’s more than this, that these are serious charges, then if they are so serious why don’t they prosecute them? Because according to the statistics they aren’t” Gounaris said. “Is the question now, are they taking a stand on this issue or is it something else? I think it’s something else.”
Kollie was not immediately taken into custody.
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