July 30, 2013: The Honorable Michael Erdos sentenced 47-year-old Rhonda Pullett to 3 to 23 months in prison today for illegally purchasing a gun for her live in boyfriend. Pullett was also sentenced to 3 years of reporting probation and 150 hours of community service. Judge Erdos found Pullett guilty of the VUFA charge of Illegally Transferring a Firearm to a Prohibited Person on June 11, 2013.
Pullett was arrested after she purchased a handgun for her live-in boyfriend to use, if he needed it. The boyfriend was ineligible to possess a firearm due to an involuntary mental health commitment under section 302 of Pennsylvania’s Mental Health Act. Despite the fact that she had previously had a Protection From Abuse Order taken out against him because of his violent behavior, and despite the fact that she had initiated the proceedings to have him arrested and involuntarily committed, Pullett agreed with his initial suggestion that she buy a gun for their home, though she had never fired a gun in her life. The boyfriend drove her to the gun store and gave her the $598 for the gun in the gun store. The gun was kept in their bedroom, under the mattress. About eight months later, the boyfriend threatened her landlord at gunpoint and fired a gun into the air. Police executed a search warrant and found the gun that Pullett purchased, as well as two other handguns in the bedroom, along with over 150 rounds of ammunition.
At the sentencing today, the defendant argued that she should be given leniency because she had no prior arrests or convictions and had two young children. Over six individuals spoke on her behalf, and ten others wrote letters on her behalf, all urging Judge Erdos to give her a lenient sentence. Judge Erdos disagreed and told the defendant that her actions had endangered the community, and that he hoped Pullett’s sentence would send a message to others that illegally transferring a gun to an ineligible person in Philadelphia is a serious crime with serious consequences.
Pullet’s boyfriend, Kerium Garrick, still has three open cases pending in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas: one for possessing a controlled substance with the intent to distribute it, one for trying to buy a handgun previously, and one for threatening the landlord at gunpoint. He was recently again found incompetent to stand trial.
This case was successfully prosecuted by ADA JT Tartikoff of the Gun Violence Task Force.