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Convicted felon, arrested after Lee monument incident, pleads guilty to federal gun charge

Posted at 2:31 PM, Aug 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-25 18:27:48-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- A convicted felon from Chesterfield County pleaded guilty Tuesday to federal gun charges.

Matthew Lee Frezza was arrested during the early morning hours of June 12 after leaving the Robert E. Lee Monument during civil unrest in Richmond.

He was found to be in possession of an assault rifle, handgun, ballistic vest, and eight magazines of ammunition.

The incident started when Richmond Police officers observed a caravan of three trucks driving recklessly in the vicinity of the Robert E. Lee Monument.

Based on the reckless driving, RPD officers executed a traffic stop on one of the pickup trucks at the intersection of Old Mill Road and Boatwright Road.

Officers observed all three occupants of the truck armed with firearms, including Frezza, who is a convicted felon.

Investigators say he possessed a Taurus, Model G3, 9mm caliber, semi-automatic pistol. The assault rifle possessed by Frezza was later determined to be a homemade rifle without a serial number, which contained a loaded, high-capacity magazine.

“Firearms in the possession of a convicted felon are always a public safety concern, but especially so when multiple weapons are recovered during a potentially volatile situation, such as civil unrest,” said Ashan M. Benedict, Special Agent in Charge of ATF’s Washington Field Division. “This defendant’s guilty plea confirms that the unlawful possession of a firearm is a serious offense and we are grateful to U.S. Attorney Terwilliger and our law enforcement partners in Richmond for this successful outcome.”

Frezza pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison when sentenced by a federal district court judge on December 10, 2020.