Sentence will run consecutively to 13-year sentence he began this year on prior gun conviction
TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that a Camden, N.J., man was sentenced to state prison today following his conviction at trial for illegally possessing a handgun as a convicted felon. It was the fifth time he has been convicted of firearms offenses in New Jersey.
Steven L. Bookman, 33, of Camden, was sentenced to eight years in state prison, including five years of parole ineligibility, by Superior Court Judge Francisco Dominguez . He was found guilty on Nov. 1 by a Camden County jury of second-degree possession of a firearm as a convicted felon following a trial before Judge Dominquez. This sentence will run consecutively to a sentence Bookman began serving for gun charges earlier this year. On March 23, Bookman received an aggregate sentence of 13 years in state prison, including nine years of parole ineligibility, on charges of second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm, second-degree possession of a firearm as a convicted felon, and fourth-degree resisting arrest. That case was prosecuted by the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office.
Deputy Attorneys General Christopher Keating and Marita Navarro tried the latest case and handled the sentencing for the Division of Criminal Justice Specialized Crimes Bureau. Bookman was charged as the result of an investigation by the New Jersey State Police Interstate Theft South Unit. Detective Jorge Rivera of the New Jersey State Police served as case agent for the investigation.
Bookman was arrested on Nov. 1, 2017 by State Police detectives who were conducting an investigation of a motor vehicle theft ring operating throughout southern New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Bookman was standing with a target of the investigation outside the target’s home on Thurman Street in Camden when detectives approached the target to arrest him on a warrant. Bookman was not a target, but when the detectives identified themselves as State Police and ordered the target to stop, Bookman and the target ran into the house next door with detectives in pursuit. A detective found Bookman in an upstairs bedroom and handcuffed him for safety. When the detective asked Bookman if he had any weapons, Bookman revealed that he had a knife clipped to his pants pocket. Soon after he admitted he had a gun in his jacket pocket. The detective recovered a Ruger .38 Special revolver from Bookman’s jacket.
At the time of his arrest, Bookman had multiple prior firearms- and drug-related convictions which made it illegal for him to possess a firearm.
“We’re making sure that recidivist criminals like Bookman who are caught with illegal firearms face New Jersey’s tough sentencing provisions for gun crimes and repeat offenders,” said Attorney General Grewal. “Guns are destroying too many lives in Camden and other New Jersey communities.”
“This case demonstrates our resolve to arrest and aggressively prosecute criminals who illegally carry guns in New Jersey,” said Director Veronica Allende of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We will try their cases to a jury, if necessary, to put them in prison where they cannot threaten the safety of our communities. I commend our trial attorneys and the State Police for securing this prison sentence.”
“Repeat offenders like Bookman will face repeated jail time, because their continued disregard of our laws puts citizens and police officers in danger, slowly eroding good communities as a result of the crime and violence associated with illegal weapons,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan of the New Jersey State Police. “I am proud of the hard work by State Police detectives and prosecutors who have ensured that Bookman will have plenty of time to rethink breaking New Jersey's firearms laws again.”
Deputy Attorneys General Keating and Navarro prosecuted the case for the Division of Criminal Justice Specialized Crimes Bureau, under the supervision of Bureau Chief Andrew Johns and Deputy Bureau Chief Jacqueline Smith. The investigation was conducted by the New Jersey State Police Interstate Theft South Unit, under the supervision of Lt. Michael Flory and Detective Sgt. Craig Brown.
Defense Attorney: Assistant Deputy Public Defender Diane Price, Camden County.