March 08, 2022

Lebanon County Man Pleads Guilty To Threatening To Murder ‘Democratic’ Members Of The United States Senate

HARRISBURG, Pa. (March 8, 2022) — The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that today Kenelm L. Shirk, age 72, of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty on March 7, 2022, before U.S. District Court Judge Jennifer P. Wilson for threatening to murder members of the United States Senate.


According to United States Attorney John C. Gurganus, on January 21, 2021, Shirk made threats to murder Democratic members of the United States Senate in retaliation for the performance of their official duties on January 6, 2021. Later that day, on January 21, 2021, Pennsylvania State Police troopers arrested Shirk while he was en route to Washington, D.C. A search of Shirk’s vehicle recovered two handguns and an AR-15 rifle and loaded magazines, as well as hundreds of rounds of ammunition. On February 3, 2021, a Harrisburg federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Shirk with one count of threatening “to murder ‘Democratic United States Senators’ with the intent to impede and retaliate against them on account of the performance of their official duties,” in violation of Title 18 U.S.C. § 115 (a)(1)(B). Shirk has been detained in federal custody since his arrest.


The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Pennsylvania State Police, the Franklin County District Attorney’s Office, the Cornwall Police Department, and the Washington, D.C. Capitol Police. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jaime M. Keating is prosecuting the case.


The maximum penalty under federal law for this offense is 10 years of imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. A sentence following a finding of guilt is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.


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