An east Arkansas city councilman pleaded guilty Tuesday to illegally possessing an unregistered machine gun, telling a federal judge that he had the weapon because he was working on it for the local police department.

An east Arkansas city councilman pleaded guilty Tuesday to illegally possessing an unregistered machine gun, telling a federal judge that he had the weapon because he was working on it for the local police department.

John Henry Parker pleaded guilty to one count of illegally possessing a Glock machine gun. As part of a plea deal, federal prosecutors dropped a charge of illegally possessing a Ruger .22-caliber rifle equipped with a silencer.

Parker was indicted in February 2008 along with former Wheatley police chief Dallas Edward Brogdon. Prosecutors have accused the pair of using the Wheatley Police Department as a front to illegally buy machine guns, but said the two weren't trying to sell them or use the guns illegally. Federal law prohibits citizens from possessing machine guns.

Prosecutor Robert Govar said federal agents searched Parker's home in February 2007 and found the machine gun and the unlicensed rifle with a silencer. Parker testified Tuesday that he only had the machine gun for a day before agents seized it. Parker said he was inserting a laser inside the pistol and doing other work on the gun.

"It was under the couch where I was working on it the night before while watching TV," he said.

Parker, who resigned from the Palestine-Wheatley School Board after the indictment, will also be forced off the Palestine City Council because state law prohibits felons from serving in elected office.

He faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, though Eisele said sentencing guidelines suggested a sentence of 18-24 months in prison. A sentencing date hasn't been sent, and Parker remains free until then.

Brogdon, the former police chief, faces a June 1 trial on 13 counts, including eight counts of possession of a machine gun not registered to him, one count of possession of a machine gun with an obliterated serial number, three counts of making false statements and one count of possession of a stolen machine gun.