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Convicted felon who handled friend's gun at firing range will spend time in prison

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Thursday, April 25, 2013, 6:33 p.m.

A convicted felon who briefly handled a friend's rifle while they were at a Trafford firing range will spend seven years and 10 months in prison for possessing a firearm, a federal judge ruled Thursday.

Khalifah Ali Al-Akili, 35, of Wilkinsburg pleaded guilty in November but argued in court documents that while he had several criminal convictions in his 20s, he has become a devout Muslim and has been leading a law-abiding life since 2007.

Prosecutors claimed at the time of his arrest that Al-Akili, who changed his name from James Marvin Thomas Jr., was a Taliban sympathizer.

U.S. District Judge Mark Hornak also sentenced Al-Akili to five years of probation.

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