KALAMAZOO, MICHIGAN MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO BEING A FELON IN POSSESSION OF FIREARMS, INCLUDING FIREARM USED IN KALAMAZOO PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICER SHOOTING
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN – Kim Robert Statler II, 32, of Kalamazoo, Michigan, pled guilty today, as charged, to being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition, announced U. S. Attorney Donald A. Davis. The factual basis for the plea before the Hon. Ellen C. Carmody, U.S. Magistrate Judge, provided that in January of 2011, Statler’s father went to Florida for an extended trip and left his son, Kim Robert Statler II (the defendant), in charge of the father’s house on Hays Park Avenue in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The house contained a number of unsecured firearms and a variety of ammunition. Kim Robert Statler II, his fiancé, and their two young children resided in the house while the father was gone. Kim Robert Statler II had previously been convicted of the felony offense of delivery of marijuana. He knew there were unsecured firearms and ammunition in the residence, and knew that, as a result of his prior felony conviction, he was prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition.
In the early morning hours of April 19, 2011, following the fatal shooting of Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Officer Eric Zapata outside the residence by the defendant’s brother, Leonard Daniel Statler, who then took his own life, a search warrant was executed at the residence, where eleven unsecured rifles and shotguns, and a variety of ammunition, were found. Two other firearms, including an SKS assault rifle used by the defendant’s brother, Leonard Daniel Statler, to shoot Officer Zapata and himself, were found outside the residence. It is not known exactly when or how the defendant’s brother, Leonard Daniel Statler, who was also a convicted felon, obtained possession of that weapon, which had previously been inside the residence. Kim Robert Statler II pled guilty to the constructive possession of all of the firearms found both inside and outside the residence. If his guilty plea is accepted by the district judge, a sentencing hearing will be scheduled. The case is assigned to the Hon. Paul L. Maloney, Chief U.S. District Judge, in Kalamazoo. The offense of possession of firearms or ammunition by a convicted felon in punishable by up to ten years in prison, to be followed by up to three years of supervised release; a fine of up to $250,000; and a special assessment of $100.
U.S. Attorney Donald A. Davis noted that this case represents a prime example of why Congress has prohibited convicted felons from possessing and obtaining access to firearms and ammunition. He commended the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for their thorough and professional investigation of this tragic incident under difficult circumstances. Assistant U.S. Attorney John C. Bruha, who also heads the Office’s Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative that targets violators of federal firearm laws, is prosecuting the case.