A Delaware County woman Wednesday became the first person sentenced for the straw purchase of guns under the state's "Brad Fox Law," receiving a six-to-12 year jail term.
In addition, Delaware County Court Judge James Bradley ordered Staci Dawson, 22, of Chester, to serve seven years' probation.
The law, which went into effect last year and is named for a slain Plymouth Township, Montgomery County, police officer, is aimed at toughening penalties for those who purchase guns for felons.
Dawson had been found guilty in August of conspiracy, making false reports to law enforcement, and illegally selling firearms.
In February 2013 Dawson bought two guns from a Chichester gun shop. A month later, her boyfriend, David "D-Nice" Colon was arrested on drug charges along with convicted felon Shamar Atkinson who was carrying a handgun Dawson had purchased.
"The irony of it is that she is doing more time than the felon with the gun," said George B. Dawson, assistant district attorney who prosecuted the case. Colon, a suspect in multiple homicides, was shot and killed in August 2013; Atkinson was sentenced to three to six years for gun crimes, he said.
On Sept. 13, 2012, Fox, a seven-year police veteran, was ambushed in an industrial area along the Schuylkill Trail while searching for a hit-and-run suspect who fled the scene of a three-car pile up in a stolen SUV.
Police said that Andrew Charles Thomas, 44, an ex-convict, shot Fox at least four times and then committed suicide.
Thomas paid Michael J. Henry, 31, of Philadelphia, to buy him nine firearms, including the 9mm Beretta used to kill Fox, officials said. Henry is serving 20 to 66 years in prison.
Fox, an Iraqi veteran and decorated staff sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps, was the first a Plymouth Township Police killed in the line of duty.
After the sentence was pronounced Wednesday, Fox's father, Tom Fox -- among those present in the courtroom along with three rows of Plymouth Township police officers and District Attorney Jack Whelan -- pumped his fist.
"I think it's wonderful," said his wife, Kathy. "I hope it sends a message. Anything that would save a family from going through this heartache makes for a good day."
Dawson's attorney, Michael Malloy, pointed out that Dawson was a 22-year-old with a 3-year-old child and that she was participating in a medical-training program.
"This is not a person with a criminal history," he said.
Said Tom Fox: "The judge did the right thing."
Also on Wednesday, Ashly Judge, 27, of Conshocken, was found guilty of making the straw purchase of two handguns in September 2013 in exchange for cash. She will be sentenced at a later date; five years is the minimum sentence under the new law.