Guilty plea in Independence stolen guns case

By The Examiner staff

An Independence man pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal gun charge for trying to sell two stolen guns at a local motel last August. 

Edward Kelly, 39, pleaded guilty in federal court in Kansas City to felony possession of guns. He faces up to 10 years in federal prison without parole and is to be sentenced at a later date. 

Kelly was arrested Aug. 24, 2020, outside the Best Western Truman Inn, just off Noland Road near Interstate 70, after a motel employee reported a suspicious person in the back courtyard trying to sell guns. 

According to court document, while one officer began to pat down Kelly, a second officer saw a loaded handgun on a nearby picnic table. Kelly tried to run away but was quickly captured, and officers searched a drawstring back Kelly had been wearing. Inside, they found a handgun case with three 9mm magazines, a loaded .410 revolver, additional .410 shells and a Taser. Police also found a glass pipe containing methamphetamine in Kelly’s pants pocket. 

Both guns had been reported stolen shortly before Kelly’s arrest, and Kelly admitted he stole the guns from a car in a nearby home’s driveway. 

Kelly had three prior felony convictions for tampering with a motor vehicle and other felony convictions for resisting a lawful stop, burglary and domestic assault. Under federal law, it’s illegal for a convicted felon to possess any gun or ammunition. 

The Truman Inn closed about a month after Independence Police led a multi-unit sweep in mid-September, based on an increase in criminal activity. Police made 15 arrests during that sweep, and having seen numerous code violations alerted Community Development. A follow-up inspection led to the city closing the building, and it has not reopened under new ownership.