Troopers seize 11 firearms when executing search warrant at home of serious violent felon

William Vernon Harper

William Vernon Harper

When troopers arrived at the home of a man deemed a serious violent felon to arrest him on a warrant, they saw signs of illegal drugs, requested a search warrant, then reported finding numerous firearms as well as drug-related items.

William Vernon Harper, 57, of Springville, was wanted on a warrant issued a week ago, on Wednesday, July 25, out of Marion County.

Indiana State Police Troopers arrived at his door to arrest him last Sunday, July 29.

The Marion County arrest warrant was issued on preliminary charges of:  

  • Possession of a narcotic drug in an amount less than five grams, a Level 5 felony,
  • Possession of cocaine,  a Level 5 felony,
  • Possession of a controlled substance with an enhancing circumstance, a Level 6 felony,
  • Possession of a controlled substance with an enhancing circumstance, a Level 6 felony, and
  • Possession of marijuana, a Class A misdemeanor.

Indiana State Police Trooper Zachary Parker arrived at Harper’s home around 9:15 p.m. Sunday, along with ISP Sgt. Greg Day.

Parker said several lights were on in the house and there were approximately 11 vehicles parked at the house, but Harper was the only individual there.

One officer went to the front door, one to the back.

The front door was open but there was a closed screen door. Trooper Parker knocked on the front screen door. There was no answer but he could see Harper sitting at the dining room table, slumped over a chair. He knocked and he yelled, but Harper didn’t wake up.

Sgt. Day, at the back, could also see Harper through a sliding glass door. He knocked loudly, but Harper did not respond.

Sgt. Day opened the door, reached in and poked Harper with a flashlight. He still didn’t wake up.

The officers opened the doors and entered the house, and finally Harper did wake up.

Trooper Parker reported that on the dining room table in front of where Harper was sitting, in plain view, they could see a spoon, a set of digital scales, a small white pill and plant material they suspected was marijuana.

Harper was taken into custody without incident and was asked to give consent to search his home. He did not give consent and said they’d have to get a search warrant. They did.

When the search warrant was executed late that night, they reported finding numerous additional drug-related items including digital scales, seeds, cut straws with residue, broken spoons with residue, numerous syringes in several locations and a small silver grinder in the shape of a skull.

They also found and seized 11 firearms that were all in plain view.

Harper’s criminal record includes a prior conviction for dealing in a Schedule I controlled substance, a Class B felony. With this prior conviction, Harper would be considered a serious violent felon who is not allowed to possess firearms.

Harper was booked in to the Greene County Jail and a criminal case was filed against him for:

  • Unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, a Level 4 felony,
  • Unlawful possession of a syringe, a Level 6 felony,
  • Possession of marijuana, a Class B misdemeanor, and
  • Possession of paraphernalia, a Class C misdemeanor.

Harper’s bond in the Greene County case was set at $20,000 surety with ten percent cash allowed but he was being held without bond on a hold for Marion County.