When Jeffrey Neithammer was arrested by police in Media, Pennsylvania in May of 2022, Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer was quick to tout the takedown of the man accused of operating a “ghost gun” factory and meth lab in an apartment not far from the heart of the township’s downtown. In a press release pushed out by his office, Stollsteimer declared, “this case lays bare the ease with which guns can now be obtained in our community,” adding that the community is “awash in guns, and those guns endanger the lives of first responders and ordinary citizens every day.”
Stollsteimer proclaimed that “we must fight this battle every day, in every way we can – we want the defendant and his products off our streets.” And yet, when it came time to take Neithammer’s case to trial, Stollsteimer’s office instead agreed to a plea bargain that could see the suspect released without spending another day in jail. Given that Stollsteimer is now running for Attorney General, I doubt his office is going to be blasting out news of the deal that will keep Neithammer on the streets like he did when Neithammer was arrested two years ago. Thankfully, there’s at least one media outlet that reported on the deal, though they left out any mention of the D.A. himself.
A Media man accused of producing untraceable ghost guns and methamphetamine in an apartment in the downtown business corridor of “everybody’s hometown” was sentenced to time served to 12 months Monday after pleading guilty to one count of possession of a prohibited weapon, a first-degree misdemeanor.
Jeffrey Neithammer, 36, formerly of the 300 block of West State Street, had also been charged with three counts of reckless endangerment, as well as one count each of possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia, all misdemeanors.
Those charges were dismissed under the negotiated guilty plea worked out by Assistant District Attorney Brian Denk and defense counsel G. Guy Smith. A felony count of discharging a firearm into an occupied structure was also previously removed as part of a negotiated waiver at a 2022 preliminary hearing.
According to police, when they responded to a fire alarm from Neithammer’s apartment, they discovered a scene out of the show Hoarders, with trash and other belongings filling up the small apartment. They also found what they originally thought was a dead body, only to discover upon closer inspection that the pale and profusely sweating Neithammer was still breathing.
Firefighters told police they saw evidence that the apartment was being used as a methamphetamine lab, the affidavit reads. When officers entered the apartment to check the fire alarms, they allegedly found metalworking equipment, along with various gun-making and drug paraphernalia. This included a computer pad with white powder, a straw and razor on it near where Neithammer had been found earlier.
Police also found several large bottles in the bathroom, one of which had a hose sticking out of it, and wires and computers scattered around the apartment, according to the affidavit.
Neithammer was detained on drug possession and paraphernalia charges, and a bomb squad was called in to ensure there were no explosive compounds on scene.
County Detective Brian Alexander, a member of the bomb squad, cleared the apartment as safe, and Egan and county Detective Sgt. Anthony Ruggieri secured a search warrant for the premises.
Among the items seized during the search were two ghost guns, both with silencers attached, as well as two pistols, one of which also had a silencer, an altered .22-caliber rifle with a scope, and numerous other 3D-printed and metal silencer attachments, the affidavit reads.
In their search, police also uncovered drugs, including methamphetamine and cocaine, along with 3D-printed magazines, an AR-style rifle, and tools including a 3D printer, along with assorted saws, sanders, and the like.
Manufacturing meth can carry a ten-year prison sentence in Pennsylvania, but for whatever reason Stollsteimer and his team of prosecutors never pursued that charge against Neithammer. In fact, the only felony he ever officially had to deal with was discharging a gun in an occupied building, but meth-making wasn’t the only potential felony he could have faced. He was also convicted of a felony firearm charge in Philadelphia in 2012, which meant Stollsheimer could have hit him with a felon in possession charge as well. Neithammer could easily have been looking at ten years or more in prison, but under the terms of the deal, the only time he’ll likely end up serving is the five months or so he spent behind bars before posting bail in October of 2022.
Regardless of what we might think about felon-in-possession statutes or the various gun and drug charges Neithammer was accused of violating, the fact remains that the tough talk from Stollsteimer when Neithammer was arrested was just that: talk. Were there evidentiary issues that precluded prosecution, or is the deal approved by Stollsteimer’s deputy just another example of the bizarre Democratic dichotomy that treats lawful gun owners as a bigger threat than violent criminals or drug dealers? I’d love to hear an explanation from the DA himself, but either way, at a time when Stollsteimer’s fellow Democrats in the legislature are trying to create a host of new criminal offenses out of our right to keep and bear arms, Neithammer’s deal is another reminder of the left’s skewed priorities when it comes to public safety.