A Madison man has been sentenced on drug and gun charges.
Darius Howard, 22, was sentenced Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Barbara B. Crabb to 15 years in prison, followed by a six-year term of supervised release, for possessing cocaine with intent to distribute it and for possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.
Howard pleaded guilty to these offenses on Nov. 13, 2012.
On May 15, 2012, Howard and others were involved in a violent, armed home invasion in Madison, according to a U.S. Department of Justice news release. A neighbor called it in and provided the license plate of the vehicle associated with the armed intruders.
The Fitchburg Police Department, meanwhile, had an outstanding warrant for Marcus Johnson's arrest. Shortly after the home invasion, Fitchburg officers were looking for Johnson at an apartment complex. Johnson arrived, driving his girlfriend's van. Howard, Christopher Carthans, and another individual were with Johnson, according to the release.
While the officers were arresting Johnson, Carthans fled and threw a pistol in a
dumpster. Carthans was caught nearby and confessed to throwing the firearm in the
dumpster, according to the release.
Officers also located a black 9mm pistol in the van. It was wrapped in a
Darius Howard admitting wrapping the gun in the T-shirt, and he had a 14-gram chunk of cocaine in his pocket which he admitted he was going to distribute, according to the DOJ.
In choosing a 15-year sentence for Howard, the judge repeatedly stated that the community needed to be protected from him.
Howard has a prior conviction for substantial battery and he is scheduled to plead guilty in Dane County Circuit Court on Thursday for his involvement in the home invasion, as well as his involvement in another shooting, according to the release.
Crabb ordered Howard's 15-year sentence to run consecutively to any sentences he receives in those cases.
Marcus Johnson has also been charged with possessing a firearm as a convicted felon and possessing cocaine with intent to distribute, and he is pending trial.
On Jan. 9, Crabb sentenced Carthans to 5 years in prison.