Post office gunman now faces federal charges

Becky Vargo • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:29 AM

The federal charges carry “significantly greater” penalties than the state charges, Frantz said, so the state charges will be dismissed under constitutional double-jeopardy principles. That means a person can’t be sentenced twice for the same crimes, Frantz said.

The sentencing that was scheduled for Monday in Ottawa County Circuit Court was canceled.

Covington was out on bond for the Ottawa County charges, but was arrested Monday on the federal indictment, Frantz said. Covington is expected to remain in federal custody pending resolution of the federal charges.

Covington was arrested by Grand Haven Department of Public Safety officers on Jan. 3, after he went into the post office at the corner of Washington Avenue and Fourth Street. A pellet gun and a handgun were confiscated from him, according to Capt. Rick Yonker of the GHDPS.

Moments earlier, police had been called to the area on a report of suspicious men. One caller witnessed one of the men putting a gun in his pocket, Yonker said.

Two other men were stopped in a van in the area of Second Street and Washington Avenue, based on information received from witnesses, Yonker said. One man was ticketed for not having automobile insurance and the van was confiscated.

Those two men did not have guns or drugs on them and were not charged with anything, Frantz said.

A local witness told police that he believed the men were coming after him, Frantz added.

Covington was charged with being a felon in possession of a gun, and possession of narcotic substance less than 25 grams. Frantz said those charges carried a maximum penalty of about a year in prison, whereas Covington now faces up to 15 years in prison under the federal guidelines.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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