DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Western District of Missouri

For Immediate Release

Thursday, June 24, 2021
Teresa A. Moore
, United States Attorney

Independence Man Pleads Guilty to Illegal Firearms

Felon Arrested While Attempting to Sell Two Guns Stolen from Parked Car

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – An Independence, Missouri, man pleaded guilty in federal court today to illegally possessing two firearms that he stole from a car and attempted to sell outside a nearby hotel.

Edward J. Kelly Jr., 39, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Brian C. Wimes to one count of being a felon in possession of firearms.

Police officers contacted Kelly at the Truman Inn/Best Western Inn, 4048 S. Lynn Court Drive, Independence, at about 4:20 a.m. on Aug. 24, 2020, after an employee reported a suspicious person in the back courtyard of the hotel trying to sell guns. One officer began to pad-down Kelly when a second officer saw a loaded Glock 9mm handgun on a nearby picnic table. Kelly then fled; officers pursued him and took him into custody. Officers searched a black bag with drawstrings that Kelly had been wearing. Inside the bag, they found a Glock handgun case with three 9mm magazines, a loaded Taurus model “The Judge” revolver which was loaded with five rounds of .410 shells, an additional 10 rounds of .410 shells, and a Taser. They also found a glass smoking pipe that contained methamphetamine in Kelly’s pants pocket.

Both the Glock and the Taurus were reported stolen shortly before Kelly’s arrest. Kelly admitted that he stole the firearms from a car in a nearby home’s driveway.

Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition. Kelly has three prior felony convictions for tampering with a motor vehicle, and prior felony convictions for resisting a lawful stop, burglary, and domestic assault.

Under federal statutes, Kelly 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 Sean T. Foley. It was investigated by the Independence, 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.

Kansas City Field Division