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Durham Man Found Guilty On Federal Weapons Charges

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DURHAM, N.C. — Reginald Hyman, who was charged last year with murder, faces a possible life sentence in prison after being found guilty last week on federal drug and weapons charges.

Hyman, 36, was found guilty of felony possession of a firearm by an armed career criminal, armed drug trafficking and discharging a firearm during an armed drug trafficking offense, resulting in death.

He will be sentenced in federal court in February.

The guilty verdict followed a two-day trial in U.S. District Court in Greensboro.

Hyman was originally arrested by Durham police investigators and charged with murder in the March 31, 2001, shooting death of 17-year-old Melvin Hampton on Ridgeway Avenue. Hyman and another man, Sherman Phillips, were also shot during the incident.

Investigators referred the case to the Durham Police Department/ATF Violent Crime Task Force for federal prosecution.

"There are habitual violent felons out there preying on citizens," said Jim Mercer, Resident Agent In Charge of ATF's Raleigh office. "We have found the federal gun laws to be a very useful tool.

"We are going to use all the resources at our disposal to fight violent crime."

Hyman has an extensive criminal record, which includes numerous drug and weapons charges. He has been charged with shooting at least two people in the past 10 years.

In 1993, Hyman was convicted of possession of cocaine and marijuana with the intent to manufacture, sell or deliver, carrying a concealed weapon and assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury.

He was sentenced to 10 years in prison. But he was released in three months and placed on electronic house arrest.

Hyman was arrested on additional drug and weapons charges while still on electronic house arrest.

Hyman will be sentenced in federal court in February.

The DPD/ATF Violent Crime Task Force has handled more than 200 Durham cases involving federal firearms charges. The average sentence has been more than 17 years in federal prison, which is day-for-day time.

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