By DON O'BRIEN
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
A Quincy man pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of weapon by a felon and was sentenced to two years in prison Thursday after he after he participated in a local trap-shooting league.
Thomas E. Veihl, 48, was scheduled to have a bench trial in front of Judge William Mays in Adams County Circuit Court, but he opted to plead guilty to one of the two charges filed against him.
Because a conviction for the charge is a mandatory sentence to the Illinois Department of Corrections, Veihl opted against having a pre-sentence investigation done for his case so that he could immediately start his prison sentence. Mays allowed Veihl until Monday to get his affairs in order before turning himself into the Adams County Jail to start his sentence.
Veihl's previous felony conviction came in a 2010 case when he pleaded guilty to a felony driving under the influence charge and was sentenced to 24 months probation. Because of that conviction, he is not allowed to possess a firearm.
Assistant State's Attorney Josh Jones said Veihl was observed shooting trap Sept. 3 as part of a league at the North Side Boat Club.
"He wasn't trying to hide it," said Don Heck, Veihl's attorney. "He was shooting in a registered trap league. He didn't know he was doing anything wrong."
Heck said Veihl had applied for a new Firearm Owners Identification card through the state of Illinois. Heck said a check Veihl had sent the state already had been cashed.
Heck did not dispute that Veihl had violated the law. He said law enforcement had video surveillance of Veihl participating in the league.
Veihl was sentenced to the minimum prison sentence allowed by law. The maximum sentence is 10 years. He did not speak when given the chance during the sentencing phase of the hearing.
Veihl was indicted by an Adams County grand jury in December. He was arrested Jan. 9 and posted $500 bond that day.