Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 5:49 PM on Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Police charge man after traffic stop



BY MICHAEL ARMSTRONG
STAFF WRITER

A traffic stop for a broken headlight last week led to Homer Police searching an Ohlson Mountain Road home and charging a Homer man with 12 counts of weapons misconduct and two counts of drug misconduct.

Police arrested Jason S. Bills, 33, Sept. 22 for allegedly being a felon in possession of a concealable firearm and later filed additional drug and other weapons charges against him. In a criminal complaint, Officer Jim Knott wrote that about 9:45 p.m. Sept. 21 he stopped Bills for having a broken headlight while he was driving on East End Road. Knott alleged smelling marijuana coming from Bills' Toyota truck. Bills said he had a Glock .45 caliber pistol and two rifles and then admitted he had about an ounce of marijuana behind his seat, Knott wrote. Knott gave Bills a preliminary breath test, alleging Bills had a .044 level. Knott seized the marijuana and weapons, later releasing the firearms to a sober person.

After checking Alaska Department of Public Safety records, Knott alleged Bills had a 1996 conviction in Utah for dangerous drugs, a third-degree felony. On the morning of Sept. 22, Knott and Officer Stacy Luck went to Bills' Ohlson Mountain Road home and spoke to him outside the home. Knott alleged Bills said he had written a letter to a Utah judge asking for his firearms rights back, but that he could not provide documentation from a judge.

Bills also said he'd purchased the Glock from a Homer gun dealer in 2009 and did not have problems. Police told Bills they would have to seize the Glock. Police went inside the home with Bills and took the Glock.

While inside, Knott alleged he saw harvested marijuana. Bills said he had no more than 12 plants and used it for personal, medicinal use, denying he sold pot for profit. Bills allowed police to go further inside, and Knott said he also saw about 30 more plants. Bills withdrew consent to search, and police arrested him on the weapons charges.

Police later got a search warrant and served it on Bills' home. Police alleged finding 66 plants, including 32 seedlings, 13.8 ounces of marijuana buds and 20 ounces of stems and leaves. Police also found three more handguns and four rifles.

Felons convicted in Utah can apply for restoration of gun rights, a process called expungement. Felons or their attorneys first apply for a certificate of eligibility, said Centerville, Utah attorney Mitch Vilos, whose practice concentrates on firearms law and representation of gun owners in criminal actions and who has written several books on firearms laws. If a certificate of eligibility is issued, the applicant then files a petition with the court. If granted by a judge, the applicant sends the order to agencies involved in the arrest, who are instructed to seal records and in effect act as if the crime never happened. The waiting period to apply varies depending on the severity of the crimes. Felons convicted of first- and second-degree felonies and sexual acts against minors are ineligible for expungement.

In total, Bills faces four counts of third-degree weapons misconduct, eight counts of second-degree misconduct involving weapons, fourth-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance, all felonies, and fifth-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.

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