3 plead guilty to providing guns for alleged shooter of Phoenix officer Tyler Moldovan
Jun 14, 2023, 4:25 AM | Updated: 7:00 am
(Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Photo)
PHOENIX — Three people pleaded guilty recently to illegally providing guns to the alleged shooter of Phoenix Police Officer Tyler Moldovan, authorities said Tuesday.
The guns in the three cases aren’t connected to the shooting of Moldovan, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona.
Essa Williams has been charged in the Dec. 14, 2021 shooting, and his trial on multiple counts is set to begin in October. He could not legally possess a firearm because he had previously been convicted of numerous felonies.
The suspect’s mother, 51-year-old Erika LaRae Williams, pleaded guilty May 22 to making a material false statement during the purchase of a Taurus G3 pistol from a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) in September 2020, five months after Essa Williams was released from prison.
Erika Williams told the dealer she was the actual purchaser of the gun. However, she knew she was buying it on behalf of her son, according to prosecutors. Her sentencing is scheduled for July 31.
Dwayne Keith Anderson, 51, of Phoenix, pleaded guilty May 24 to one count of aiding and abetting the making of a false statement during the purchase of a firearm. Anderson, who was an FFL, met Essa Williams at a gun show and told him he could help him avoid a background check, prosecutors said.
Williams texted Anderson a woman’s information, including her photo ID. Anderson filled out the firearms transaction record with her information, including her signature. He then sold Williams a Masterpiece Arms Defender 9mm pistol.
Authorities said Anderson completed the form using the false information knowing Williams had not provided his true identification.
Anderson saw Williams once after the purchase when he came to his house in a black Dodge Charger to pick up the gun.
In December 2021, with a warrant, detectives searched the Charger after Moldovan was shot. During the search, the gun purchased from Anderson was found in the back seat floorboard.
Anderson is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 7.
The third person, Essa Williams’s girlfriend, 24-year-old Alice Berdicchia, of Phoenix, pleaded guilty last week to misprision (concealment) of a felony.
In November 2021, Berdicchia agreed to bring Williams a Glock 9mm pistol. She was aware of his previous convictions and knew he could not legally possess a firearm, prosecutors said.
Authorities said she deliberately helped him illegally possess the gun and conceal that crime. Her sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 14.
If convicted, Erika Williams faces up to 10 years in prison with a fine of up to $250,000, while Anderson and Berdicchia each face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.