Independence man pleads guilty to illegally possessing firearms


KANSAS CITY, Mo. – An Independence man pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday 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 to one count of being a felon in possession of firearms.

Police officers contacted Kelly at the Truman Inn/Best Western Inn located at 4048 S. Lynn Court Drive in 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.

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