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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Pennsylvania

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 21, 2018

Federal Jury Convicts Two Former Allegheny County Men on All Charges Related to Armed Robbery Spree and Shooting

PITTSBURGH, PA – After deliberating less than one-half hour, a federal jury found Kahlil Shelton guilty of five counts of violating federal narcotics, robbery, and firearm laws and Deron Howell guilty of eight counts of violating federal narcotics, robbery, and firearm laws.

Shelton, age 23, formerly of Duquesne, Pennsylvania, and Howell, age 25, formerly of Swissvale, Pennsylvania, were tried before United States District Court Judge Billy Roy Wilson in Pittsburgh.

According to Assistant United States Attorneys Timothy Lanni and Jeffrey Bengel, who prosecuted the case, the evidence presented at trial established that on August 7, 2017, Howell and Shelton robbed two individuals of marijuana in a residential neighborhood in Cranberry, Pennsylvania, while using firearms.  Howell and Shelton organized this robbery by telling the victim that they wanted to purchase approximately six pounds of marijuana.  Howell, Shelton, and a third unknown accomplice then travelled to the victim’s house in Cranberry.  Upon arrival, Shelton excused himself to go to the bathroom and returned from the bathroom holding a firearm that he pressed to the heads of both of the victims.  At this time, Howell stole the marijuana from one of the victims.  The second victim struggled with Shelton before attempting to flee from the house.  Before the second victim could flee from the house, the third unknown accomplice shot the victim through the chest, but he survived.

Additionally, on July 27, 2017, Deron Howell, and two unidentified accomplices used firearms to rob four professional video game players of $6,700 dollars to be used at a video game tournament.  Howell accomplished the robbery by picking up the four victims at the Pittsburgh International Airport in his silver Kia Optimum and driving them to the Lincoln-Lemington neighborhood of the City of Pittsburgh.  After Howell locked the victims in the car, two unknown accomplices pulled the victims from the car and held them at gunpoint with an AK-47 and a pistol while Howell stripped the victims of their belongings, the $6,700 dollars, and their luggage.  ATF and Pittsburgh Police were able to link the Cranberry incident to the City of Pittsburgh incident due to their similar styles.

“This case arose from a marijuana deal gone bad when the buyers attempted to rob the seller.  Shots were fired and one of the participants was wounded.  All of this occurred in a quiet Cranberry neighborhood,” stated U.S. Attorney Brady.  “Project Safe Neighborhoods, the federal program to combat the illegal use of firearms, is designed to address exactly this type of violent criminal activity.”

Judge Wilson scheduled sentencing for October 1, 2018.  Shelton faces a total maximum sentence of not less than seven years and up to life in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. Howell faces a total maximum sentence of not less than 30 years and up to life in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both    Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.  Indicate relevant bond/detention information if known

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Cranberry Township Police Department, and the City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Police conducted the investigation leading to the convictions in this case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.   Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made turning the tide of rising violent crime in America a top priority.   In October 2017, as part of a series of actions to address this crime trend, Attorney General Sessions announced the reinvigoration of PSN and directed all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to develop a district crime reduction strategy that incorporates the lessons learned since PSN launched in 2001.

Topic(s): 
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime
Updated May 21, 2018