KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A Kansas City, Mo., man who distributed a video of himself holding a gun to the head of a blindfolded man pleaded guilty in federal court today to illegally possessing firearms.
Sean A. Winston, 44, of Kansas City, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Howard F. Sachs to being a felon in possession of firearms.
By pleading guilty today, Winston admitted he was in possession of a Rossi .38-caliber revolver and a Springfield Armory .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun on April 10, 2018.
According to court documents, an individual contacted law enforcement on April 8, 2018, to report that Winston sent him a video, via text message, in which Winston was holding a handgun to the head of a blindfolded man. Police officers contacted family members, who said they also had received the video. The video showed an unidentified man, who was blindfolded and was sitting on a couch with his hands in the air in a surrendering posture. In the video, Winston said the blindfolded man should be dead. The blindfolded man replied with “I love you, Sean. I love you, Sean.” Winston appeared to be angry and agitated in the video.
Winston’s family members said the blindfolded man appeared to be one of Winston’s associates, who was later identified and located. The man acknowledged that he was in the video, but he did not want to cooperate with the prosecution.
On April 10, 2018, police officers arrested Winston and searched his residence, where they found both firearms.
Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition. Winston has prior federal felony convictions for distributing a controlled substance and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Winston is subject to a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Moeder. It was investigated by the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Project Safe Neighborhoods
The U.S. Attorney’s Office is partnering with federal, state, and local law enforcement to specifically identify criminals responsible for significant violent crime in the Western District of Missouri. A centerpiece of this effort is Project Safe Neighborhoods, a program that brings together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make neighborhoods safer for everyone. Project Safe Neighborhoods is an evidence-based program that identifies the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develops comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, Project Safe Neighborhoods focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.