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Press Release

Charleston Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Gun Crime

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Kevin Gerard Denson, 36, of Charleston, pleaded guilty today to being a felon in possession of a firearm.

According to court documents and statements made in court, on June 30, 2022, law enforcement officers were dispatched to Leon Sullivan Way in Charleston in response to a report of shots fired. Officers encountered Denson exiting a vehicle in an alley near Jet Life Apparel. Officers found two firearms in the vehicle, a Dickinson, model XXPA, 12-gauge shotgun and a Smith & Wesson, model M&P 15, 5.56-caliber rifle. Both firearms were loaded with high-capacity drum magazines.

Officers also found a bullet hole at the entrance to Jet Life Apparel, and obtained a search warrant for the store’s video surveillance system. The footage showed Denson carrying the two firearms and Jonathan Kennedy, 41, of St. Albans, running across the store while holding the shotgun following an apparent altercation outside.  

Federal law prohibits a person with a prior felony conviction from possessing a firearm or ammunition. Denson knew he was prohibited from possessing a firearm because of his prior felony conviction for delivery of cocaine in Kanawha Circuit Court on June 12, 2013.

Denson is scheduled to be sentenced on February 1, 2023, and faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.

The video surveillance footage showed Kennedy and Denson possessed the firearms after a vehicle stopped in front of Jet Life Apparel and its driver fired a pistol in the direction of the store following an apparent verbal argument. Officers recovered a spent 9mm casing from the street near where the pistol was fired from the vehicle.

Kennedy pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm on October 4, 2022.

Jamon L. Woodson, 39, was indicted on one count of being a felon in possession of ammunition as the alleged driver of the vehicle. The indictment alleges Woodson possessed 9mm ammunition on June 30, 2022, and that he knew he was prohibited from possessing ammunition because of his felony conviction for conspiracy to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine and a quantity of marijuana in United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia on January 7, 2011. Woodson was arraigned on the indictment on September 29, 2022, and his trial is scheduled for November 15, 2022. An indictment is merely an allegation and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

United States Attorney Will Thompson made the announcement and commended the investigative work of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Charleston Police Department.

Chief United States District Judge Thomas E. Johnston presided over the hearings. Assistant United States Attorney Nowles Heinrich is prosecuting the case.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia. Related court documents and information can be found on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:22-cr-145.



Updated October 12, 2022

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses