A Wichita man who was caught with six bullets in his pocket has been sentenced to 19 years and seven months in federal prison.
The attorney for James E. Baker, 45, said Thursday he plans to appeal the sentence imposed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Wichita.
"It's pretty draconian," said assistant federal public defender John Henderson. "There's no question about that."
Baker was eligible for the long sentence because he had an extensive criminal record, prosecutors said.
"Mr. Baker is an armed career criminal with six convictions for commercial burglaries or attempted commercial burglaries," U.S. Attorney Eric Melgren said in a news release. "He has been committing crimes since he was 20 years old. The purpose of this sentence is to protect the public from further crimes."
In August, a jury found Baker guilty of one count of unlawfully possessing ammunition after felony convictions. Federal sentencing guidelines, according to the news release, make no distinction between the possession of a firearm and the possession of ammunition.
Prosecutors alleged the bullets and a firearm had been stolen during a burglary at Doc's Steakhouse. But Henderson noted that jurors found Baker not guilty of possession of stolen ammunition.
Henderson said Baker told jurors that he found the .38-caliber bullets on Halloween night of 2005 and decided to pick them up because he didn't want them to fall into the hands of trick-or-treaters.
He said Henderson had planned to turn them over to law enforcement.
Henderson said he planned to appeal on several grounds, including that jurors were not allowed to consider that the possession of the bullets was "innocent of any malicious intent."
But Wichita police suggested Baker was far less innocent and had been a suspect in more than 50 burglaries in Wichita at the time of his arrest.