OTTUMWA — The federal prosecution of an Ottumwa man on weapons charges illustrates how communication can work between local authorities and federal prosecutors.
Wapello County Attorney Reuben Neff said the case began with state charges against Donald Shawn Fountain for possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and felon in possession of a firearm. When authorities searched Fountain’s home after obtaining a search warrant, they found about 16 grams of methamphetamine, along with a handgun and ammunition.
The drug charge is a Class B felony under Iowa law, carrying the potential for up to 25 years in prison. But the sentences for the charge are usually lower. Neff said the Iowa Board of Parole’s 2019 annual report showed people convicted of the charge served an average of 28 months, or slightly more than 9 percent of the potential maximum.
“Iowa’s parole system would likely lead to any state imposed prison sentence obtained by the Wapello County Attorney’s Office being significantly reduced,” said Neff in a statement.
Federal sentences work differently. They require those convicted to serve 85 percent of their sentence before any possible release. Neff said the county approached federal prosecutors about the case after reviewing Fountain’s prior record, which includes convictions for stalking, sexual abuse, assault, eluding, failure to register as a sex offender and domestic abuse.
Fountain faces two federal charges. The first, being a felon in possession of a firearm, mirrors a state charge. The second is possession of a stolen firearm. Both carry sentences of up to 10 years.
“The Wapello County Attorney’s Office is very grateful that the U.S. Attorney’s Office is now prosecuting this defendant,” Neff said.