Skip to main content
Press Release

Charleston Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Gun Crimes

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

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Joshua Azale Mitchell, 21, of Charleston, pleaded guilty today to stealing firearms from two Kanawha County businesses.

According to court documents and statements made in court, on November 9, 2022, Mitchell broke into a Dunbar business and stole a Diamondback Firearms DB15 5.56 caliber rifle and a Smith and Wesson M&P 15-22 .22-caliber rifle. On November 10, 2022, Mitchell broke into a Charleston business and stole a Custom Arms & Accessories LD-15 5.56 caliber rifle and a DPMS Panther Arms A-15 5.56 caliber rifle.

Mitchell pleaded guilty to two counts of theft of firearms from a federal firearms licensee and aiding and abetting the thefts. He is scheduled to be sentenced on December 6, 2023, and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.

Co-defendant Keara Kilpatrick, 21, of Charleston, pleaded guilty to two counts of theft of firearms from a federal firearms licensee and aiding and abetting the thefts on July 12, 2023. Kilpatrick drove Mitchell to and from the two businesses for each break-in and theft. On November 11, 2022, Kilpatrick was driving on Washington Street in Charleston when law enforcement officers attempted a traffic stop of her vehicle. Kilpatrick fled before crashing her vehicle in a hotel parking lot. Officers recovered three of the four stolen firearms from Kilpatrick's vehicle. Kilpatrick awaits sentencing.

United States Attorney Will Thompson made today’s announcement and commended the investigative work of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office and the Charleston Police Department.

United States District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin presided over the hearing. Assistant United States Attorneys Ryan A. Keefe and Brian Parsons are 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. 2:23-cr-28. 



Updated September 20, 2023

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses