LEXINGTON, Ky. – A Lexington, Ky., man, Kenneth Mitchell, 27, pleaded guilty in federal court on Tuesday, before Chief U.S. District Judge Danny Reeves, to being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.
According to Mitchell’s plea agreement, on December 9, 2019, officers responded to a firearm being discharged at an apartment complex in Lexington, where officers located Mitchell and a female victim. Mitchell admitted that prior to police arriving, he had taken the firearm to a nearby fence line to hide it, where law enforcement later recovered it. Mitchell further admitted that he knowingly possessed the firearm and that he was prohibited from possessing it, as a convicted felon.
Mitchell was indicted in February 2020. Mitchell had previously been convicted, in May 2019, of Wanton Endangerment, in Fayette County Circuit Court.
Robert M. Duncan, Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky; Shawn Morrow, Special Agent in Charge, ATF Louisville Field Division; and Chief Lawrence Weathers, Lexington Police Department, jointly announced the guilty plea.
The investigation was conducted by the ATF and Lexington Police Department. The United States was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Francisco Villalobos II.
Mitchell faces up to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. However, any sentence will be imposed by the Court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal sentencing statutes.
This is another case prosecuted as part of the Department of Justice’s “Project Safe Neighborhoods” Program (PSN), which is a nationwide, crime reduction strategy aimed at decreasing violent crime in communities. It involves a comprehensive approach to public safety — one that includes investigating and prosecuting crimes, along with prevention and reentry efforts. In the Eastern District of Kentucky, U.S. Attorney Robert Duncan Jr., coordinates PSN efforts in cooperation with various federal, state, and local law enforcement officials.
This case is also part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. Click here for more information about Project Guardian.
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