Forrest and Perry Counties District Attorney Lin Carter announced today that Lyncoya Ratcliff, a/k/a Cory Ratcliff ("Ratcliff'), was sentenced to ten years for being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm and five years for Possessing a Stolen Firearm, in the Mississippi Department of Corrections after being convicted at trial.
On August 12,2019, at 9:45 p.m., a Patrol Officer with the Hattiesburg Police Department conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle being driven by Ratcliff for having a non-functioning headlight.
Ratcliff did not have a driver's license and during the stop, the Officer overheard Ratcliff and a passenger discussing drugs being inside the vehicle. The Officer then had Ratcliff step out of the vehicle, where drugs were in plain view and Ratcliff admitted the drugs belonged to him. A subsequent search of the vehicle revealed two (2) loaded handguns, both within arm's reach of where Ratcliff was seated. One of the handguns was reported stolen from a vehicle several months prior. A background check of Ratcliff discovered he was a previously convicted felon and not allowed to be in possession of any firearm.
Ratcliff was indicted by a Forrest County Grand Jury for being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm and Possessing a Stolen Firearm. He proceeded to trial on May 17, 2022, wherein the jury shortly returned Guilty verdicts for both charges.
On June 1, 2022, a sentencing hearing was conducted, wherein it was determined Ratcliff had four (4) previous convictions: Criminal Street Gang Activity in Lamar County Circuit Court; Felon in Possession of a Firearm Lamar Circuit Court; Possession of Controlled Substances in Lamar Circuit Court; and, Forgery in Forrest Circuit Court.
Pursuant to the Habitual Offender statute, Judge Bob Helfrich sentenced Ratcliff to ten years in prison, day-for-day, for being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm, and five years in prison, day-for-day, for Possessing a Stolen Firearm. The sentences will be served concurrently with each other.
District Attorney Lin Carter stated, "There are no excuses for convicted felons possessing any firearms, much less stolen firearms. The Patrol Officers did an outstanding job in professional, diligent manner in which they handled this traffic stop. I am glad these firearms are out of the hands of a four time convicted felon and back with their rightful owners."
Assistant District Attorney Bryan Buckley prosecuted the cases.
District Attorney Lin Carter was sworn into office in January 2020 and represents the Twelfth Judicial District, Forrest and Perry Counties.