DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Maryland

For Immediate Release

Monday, April 22, 2019
Robert K. Hur
, United States Attorney
Contact: Marcia Murphy

Carroll County Felon Pleads Guilty to Illegal Possession of Firearms and to Witness Retaliation

Admitted that He Burned the Victim’s Car in Retaliation for the Victim Providing Information to Law Enforcement

Baltimore, Maryland –Jason Kiser, age 40, of Taneytown, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to the federal charges of illegal possession of firearms and witness retaliation.  Kiser admitted that he burned the vehicle of an individual in retaliation for that person providing information to law enforcement concerning Kiser’s illegal possession of firearms.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge Rob Cekada of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) Baltimore Field Division; Carroll County Sheriff James T. DeWees; and Maryland State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci.
“We take witness tampering and witness retaliation very seriously,” said U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur.  “Those who tamper with or retaliate against a witness will face federal prosecution and federal prison, where there is no parole—ever.”
According to his plea agreement, on May 8, 2018, Kiser went to a gunsmithing store in Taneytown, Maryland, which was located in a building next to the owner’s home.  The store was in the process of moving to a new location on West Baltimore Street in Taneytown.  Kiser asked the owner if he could take the parts from a firearm that Kiser had brought into the store with him, and place them on a stripped receiver that Kiser planned to obtain from another store.  The owner of the store knew Kiser and believed that Kiser had previously been convicted of theft of a motor vehicle and possibly other crimes and was therefore prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition.  On May 9, 2018, an ATF investigator conducted a compliance check at the gunsmithing store and the owner advised the investigator of Kiser’s request.  The ATF investigator opened a criminal investigation of Kiser. 
On May 10, 2018, Kiser arrived at the gunsmithing store’s new location on West Baltimore Street in Taneytown, and provided the owner with an AR-556 rifle; a PWA, Model Commando receiver; and a Model A-15 receiver.  Kiser asked the owner to place a forward grip on the AR-556 rifle and take the parts off of the PWA Commando and place them on the A-15 receiver.  In coordination with investigators, on May 11, 2018, the owner advised Kiser that the firearms were ready.  Law enforcement arrested Kiser as he walked towards the store.  Kiser was charged in the Circuit Court for Carroll County with illegal possession of firearms.  In the charging documents, the officer identified the store owner as a witness. 
In the early morning hours of July 17, 2018, the store owner awoke at his house to the sound of a car horn.  The store owner looked out of his bedroom window and saw his vehicle, which was parked in the carport adjacent to his residence, on fire.  Firefighters extinguished the fire and called Maryland State Fire Marshals to determine the cause of the fire.  Investigators located a glove from behind the carport and recovered a Folger’s plastic can cover and bolt cutters from next to the driveway.  They also recovered pieces of burned debris from the vehicle.  DNA evidence recovered from the glove and bolt cutters revealed a high stringency match to Kiser’s DNA, which was submitted to the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) during Kiser’s previous arrests.  Investigators categorized the fire as an arson, based on the DNA evidence.
Kiser and the government have agreed that, if the Court accepts the plea, Kiser will be sentenced to between eight and 10 years in prison.  U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow has scheduled sentencing for August 7, 2019, at 11:00 a.m.  Kiser remains detained.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.  Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the ATF, the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, and the Office of the Maryland State Fire Marshal for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Patricia C. McLane, who is prosecuting the case.
Baltimore Field Division