Richard B. (Hook) Traylor, an ex-policeman and nationally recognized gun expert whose Woodbridge home was severely damaged in a gunpowder explosion last year, was sentenced yesterday to four months in U.S. prison for four firearms violations.
Traylor, 53, a much-decorated retired District of Columbia policeman who also later worked for the Drug Enforcement Administration, had a "remarkable career," but "now he is just like any other common criminal," said U.S. District Court Judge J. Calvitt Clarke Jr.
A jury last month convicted Traylor of possessing six guns stolen from DEA, receiving 16 others taken from D.C. police and possessing an unregistered Thompson submachine gun that had an obliterated serial number.
Judge Clarke, who sentenced Traylor in Alexandria, said Traylor had violated a position of "public trust," and rejected a plea from Traylor's lawyer that his client not be sent to prison.
Jack B. Stevens, Traylor's lawyers, said in court his client plans to appeal his conviction. Traylor later told his family outside the courtroom that he might decide to serve his prison term rather than appeal.
"We can prolong it and prolong, [but] I'm going to have to do it anyway," said Traylor, a broad-shouldred, ex-marine. "I'd rather do it now."
Traylor was also ordered to serve four years and eight months on probation after he completes his prison sentence. He could have received up to 35 years in prison and been fined $35,000.
Federal investigators discovered a cache of more than 100 weapons and over a half-million rounds of ammunition at Traylor's home after the explosion May 14, 1979.
The blast knocked off one end of his four-bedroom home, and Traylor suffered second-degree burns over 30 percent of his body.
The criminal charges resulted when investigators learned that some of his firearms had been stolen from the D.C. police and DEA, where Traylor worked at the time of the explosion.
Traylor was not accused of having stolen the weapons. He was acquitted of three other related firearms charges, and prosecutors dropped three additional counts, including possessing stolen ammunition, before the case went to the jury. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nash W. Schoot and Karen Tandy presented the government's case.
At his trial, Traylor testified in his own defense that the DEA weapons were left by unidentified persons in a camper he owned. He cliamed he bought the D.C. police weapons from soldiers who acquired them after they were discarded following a storeroom fire at the police armory in January 1978.
Traylor, who retired from D.C. Police Department in 1978, received 25 commendations during his career, especially for his work as head of the department's riot-control unit.
He was dismissed from his $19,263-a-year job as a DEA firearms instructor 11 days after the blast at his home. He took the DEA job following his retirement from the police department.