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Lifelong Criminal Gets 6 to 12 Years in Firearms Case

October 12, 2016


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Thomas Gannon, 215.348.6461, tcgannon@buckscounty.org

A 40-year-old Philadelphia man with an extensive criminal record was sentenced Friday to serve six to 12 years in prison for illegally possessing a firearm and drugs, and for lying to police while functioning as an informant.

Robert Livingston Rowell has been arrested 26 times as an adult, said Deputy District Attorney Thomas Gannon, who prosecuted the case. “He has more arrests as an adult than years as an adult,” Gannon said.

Because of that extensive record, which includes felony drug and firearms convictions, Rowell is forbidden from owning or possessing guns.

Rowell was placed on probation in 2014 after serving time in federal prison for a felony firearms violation. He was still under federal supervision on Feb. 27, 2015, when Bensalem police stopped him near Route 1 and Rockhill Drive for having two broken brake lights on the vehicle he was driving.

Officers discovered that Rowell had a suspended license as a result of a driving under the influence conviction. A search of the vehicle uncovered more than 40 grams of marijuana and K2, a synthetic cannabinoid.

After being charged, Rowell agreed to cooperate with police as an informant.

In November 2015, Rowell contacted Bensalem police and told them that he knew of a person who might sell heroin and a gun to an undercover officer.

Instead, Gannon said, Rowell set up an 18-year-old acquaintance for arrest by slipping the teen a .32-caliber handgun and then instructing him to sell it, promising a fee of $200 in return.

When police arrested the teen, he told officers that he was a friend of Rowell’s family and that Rowell had given him the gun to sell.

When confronted by officers, Gannon said, Rowell admitted that he had purchased the firearm illegally four or five months earlier.

Rowell was found guilty in June of multiple firearms-related felonies by Bucks County Judge Raymond F. McHugh. He also pleaded guilty to misdemeanor drug possession charges at his sentencing on Friday.

Approved for release by Robert James, Deputy District Attorney.

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Office of the District Attorney
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