MARTINSBURG, W.Va. —  A relatively new initiative to protect domestic violence victims has netted a Jefferson County a decade-long sentence in prison on federal charges involving domestic violence and firearms.

U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld’s office says Paul Richard Tomlinson, 24, of Harpers Ferry was sentenced this week to ten years in federal prison for interstate violation of a protective order and possession of a firearm.

The press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office relates the charges:

“According to court documents and statements made in court, the Martinsburg Police Department was called to a domestic incident at a home in the city. Tomlinson had gotten into a physical altercation with his girlfriend’s father. Investigators found a firearm in Tomlinson’s car. Tomlinson is prohibited from having firearms because of a prior felony conviction and was arrested. Tomlinson’s former girlfriend told officers that Tomlinson sexually and physically abused her during a cross-country trip. She was then granted a Domestic Violence Emergency Protective Order. While being held on the firearms charge, Tomlinson asked his mother to contact the victim on his behalf on multiple occasions to encourage the victim to drop the charges.”

Tomlinson will also serve three years of supervised release upon his release from prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

The case was prosecuted as a part of the Northern District of West Virginia’s Domestic Violence Reduction Initiative, formed in early 2023 to protect domestic violence victims, take dangerous criminals off the streets, and enhance community safety. The program focuses on keeping firearms out of the hands of violent offenders.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle Kane prosecuted the case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; and the Martinsburg Police Department investigated, according to the press release.

U.S. District Judge Gina M. Groh presided.