Former Ellis County Sheriff’s Lt. Philip Slaughter II was sentenced in Federal Court Friday, Jan. 5 to 15 months in prison for possession or sale of a stolen firearm.

Slaughter pleaded guilty July 28, 2017, for his role in stealing and selling firearms from the sheriff’s office property room during his employment.

According to the factual resume document from the U.S. District Court, Slaughter admitted in court that he possessed a stolen .40 caliber Taurus pistol. Slaughter admitted that from Oct. 21, 2001 – March 28, 2016, while working at the sheriff’s office, his responsibilities included reorganizing the evidence room where he had access to numerous firearms seized by the agency. Some of those items were evidence in criminal cases.

“Slaughter admits that on Nov. 18, 2015, he obtained a court order to destroy hundreds of firearms in the ESCO Evidence Room. The list of firearms ordered to be destroyed was created and maintained by Slaughter,” the factual resume document stated. “Slaughter obtained this court order knowing that he would not have some of the firearms destroyed but instead he would convert them to his own use or for personal gain.”

According to the arrest warrant affidavit, the sheriff’s office was informed by the Ennis Police Department that officers recovered firearms, reported stolen from the agency, at Ennis Pawn. The guns recovered were a .36 caliber Colt revolver model No. 1862, a second Colt revolver model No. 1860 and a Taurus semi-automatic pistol. These firearms were allegedly pawned on April 5. Ennis police stated Slaughter was the person identified on the pawn receipt, according to the affidavit.

The court recommended that Slaughter serve his sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution at Seagoville. Slaughter has to surrender to the authorities before 2 p.m. on Feb. 20 at the Seagoville facility. Upon his release from prison, he will be on supervised release for two years.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons website states that this is a low-security federal correctional institution with an adjacent minimum-security satellite camp and a detention center. It has a total of 1,996 inmates.

Some of the conditions of Slaughter’s supervision include not committing any federal, state, or local crime; he cannot unlawfully possess a controlled substance; must refrain from any unlawful use of a controlled substance; must submit to one drug test within 15 days of release and two periodic drug tests later; must cooperate in the collection of DNA as directed by a probation officer; must work full time; must live in a place approved by the probation officer. Slaughter is also required to pay $2,375 in restitution.

The Daily Light reached out to Slaughter's attorney, Morgan Taylor, on Tuesday but no calls were returned as of press time.

Second Suspect

The second suspect involved in the theft from the sheriff’s office property room is former deputy Thomas Glen Smith. He is set to be sentenced on Jan. 18 for his involvement in the offense. Smith voluntary pleaded guilty Aug. 1.

Smith’s attorney, Mark Griffith, filed a sentencing memorandum and request for a variance from the sentencing guidelines on Jan. 2. In the petition, Griffith asked the court to vary from the guideline sentence and impose a lesser punishment than suggested.

“Mr. Smith is requesting a sentence of 12 months incarceration with any probationary period found reasonable and necessary by this honorable court to fulfill the purposes of sentencing,” Griffith wrote.

According to Smith’s factual resume document, he admitted that he received a stolen firearm, a Thompson 1927A-1 .45 caliber semi-automatic rifle. This rifle is also commonly known as the “Tommy Gun.”

During his time with the sheriff’s office, Smith worked to reorganize the evidence room. Firearms that were sold by Smith were evidence in pending criminal cases or were to be destroyed by a court order.

The factual resume document states Smith admits to selling or pledged as security 40 firearms stolen from the sheriff’s office evidence room. These thefts took place between November and December 2015.

Griffith noted that Smith has “absolutely no prior criminal history” and has “provided substantial assistance to the government prior to entering his voluntary plea.”

Some of the accomplishments Griffith pointed out to the court that show his client’s character include being the valedictorian of his high school class, Navarro College Police Academy awards including a valedictorian award, certificates and training as a police officer, Midwestern State University President’s Honor Roll, commendations as a police officer, character and reference letters from close acquaintances and family, letters of appreciation from different law enforcement agencies, and an article from the Daily Light about his police work.

“A felony conviction and a sentence of 12 months confinement followed by a probationary period deemed appropriate by this court reflect the seriousness of Mr. Smith’s crime,” Griffith stated. “It also serves as a deterrence to any further criminal behavior of the part of Mr. Smith. The public is fully protected with a sentence of 12 months confinement followed by a probationary period deemed appropriate by this court.”

Griffith noted that Smith would benefit from vocational training while incarcerated, which would help him live a productive life and have the means to provide for his family.