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Moorhead man sentenced for illegally owning gun used in 6-year-old's death

Phillip Neal Jones Jr. pleaded guilty in September in the U.S. District Court of Minnesota to being a felon in possession of a firearm.

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Phillip Jones Jr.

MOORHEAD — A federal judge has ordered a Moorhead man to spend four years and nine months in prison for illegally possessing a gun used in the fatal shooting of a 6-year-old boy.

U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson sentenced Phillip Neal Jones Jr. on Tuesday, March 22, in a St. Paul courtroom. After prison, Jones must serve three years of supervised release, the judge ordered.

Jones pleaded guilty in September in the U.S. District Court of Minnesota to being a felon in possession of a firearm.

On March 21, 2021, a 6-year-old boy, a relative of Jones, died from a gunshot wound in a Moorhead apartment in the 400 block of Sunrise Circle.

Court documents say the boy and an 8-year-old found a handgun under a box of snacks in the kitchen of the apartment where Jones lived. The children were playing with the gun, and the 8-year-old was holding it when it went off and hit the stove then the 6-year-old, court documents said.

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Jones was not in the apartment when the boy was shot, court documents said. Four children, including the 6-year-old, were left at the apartment alone, court documents said.

Jones has several convictions on his record, including an attempted drive-by shooting from 2007 and multiple counts that say he illegally owned a firearm.

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