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Press Release

Lebanon, Pa. Man Indicted For Threatening To Murder Members Of The United States Senate

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa., - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Kenelm L. Shirk, age 71, of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, was indicted on February 3, 2021, by a federal grand jury for threatening to murder members of the United States Senate.

According to Acting United States Attorney Bruce D. Brandler, the indictment alleges that Shirk made threats to murder Democratic members of the United States Senate.  On January 21, 2021, Shirk was stopped by the Pennsylvania State Police in his vehicle en route to Washington D.C. A search of Shirk’s vehicle recovered several firearms and large amount of ammunition. Shirk was then taken into custody by the Pennsylvania State Police and charged with making terroristic threats.  

Shirk made his initial appearance before Magistrate Judge Susan E. Schwab on February 9, 2021, and pled not guilty to the federal charges.  He was detained pending a trial that was scheduled for April 5, 2021.

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.

Indictments, Criminal Informations and Criminal Complaints are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.

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.

The maximum penalty under federal law for this offense is 10 years, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant's educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.


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Updated February 10, 2021

Violent Crime