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Gun Violence Task Force Secures Conviction of Defendant for Illegal Gun Possession Through Use of Phone Forensics

PHILADELPHIA (May 9, 2022) — District Attorney Larry Krasner and Assistant District Attorney Joseph Lanuti of the Gun Violence Task Force (GVTF) today announced the conviction of Zarwea Sehneah (DOB 12/30/1974) for illegal possession of a firearm and a related drug charge.State parole agents received a tip in January of 2021 regarding the illegal purchase of a .45 caliber semiautomatic pistol. Agents subsequently obtained a search warrant for Sehneah’s residence, whereupon they discovered the firearm loaded with nine live rounds in an upstairs bathroom. In addition to the firearm, agents also recovered the defendant’s cell phone. Sehneah was arrested at the scene and charged in March.Members of the GVTF then obtained a search warrant for Sehneah’s cell phone. GVTF Forensic Analyst Christopher Lezynski conducted a thorough forensic examination of the phone’s contents and discovered a photograph of the firearm as well as text messages suggesting the defendant intended to illegally purchase the semiautomatic weapon. This data played a critical role in Assistant District Attorney Lanuti securing a conviction in this case.

Investigators received additional information that helped them discover surveillance video of Sehneahwho is on parole after a 10-year period of incarceration for prior drug trafficking offenses committed in Chester County in 2005meeting with an individual in the parking lot of Clayton’s Hunting and Indoor Range in Horsham, PA, on the afternoon of December 29, 2020. Staff at that location provided to authorities surveillance footage showing an individual purchasing the firearm that was later found at Sehneah’s residence (and in the photograph discovered on the defendant’s cell phone).“This investigation and conviction clearly exemplify why we must robustly fund forensic technology,” said DA Krasner. “Forensic technology makes the difference between a decent case and an air-tight case. I commend ADA Lanuti and GVTF Analyst Christopher Lezynski for securing justice in this firearm case.”Sehneah was found guilty after a waiver trial on April 20, 2022. He is scheduled for sentencing before the Hon. Mia Roberts Perez on June 29, 2022.

CONTACT:Dustin Slaughter, 215-686-8713, [email protected]

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The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office is the largest prosecutor’s office in Pennsylvania, and one of the largest in the nation. It serves the more than 1.5 million residents of the City and County of Philadelphia, employing 600 lawyers, detectives, and support staff. The District Attorney’s Office is responsible for the prosecution of approximately 40,000 criminal cases annually. Learn more about the DAO by visiting PhillyDA.org.