Former Pennsylvania lawyer gets time-served sentence in lawmaker threats & apologises to court

A former Pennsylvania lawyer who pleaded guilty to threatening to kill Democrats in the U.S. Senate has been sentenced to time served and a $10,000 fine.

Kenelm Shirk III, 72, of the city of Lebanon, pleaded guilty in March to a charge of threatening to murder a U.S. official. U.S. District Judge Jennifer Wilson took his age and health into account in lowering the sentence range from 18 to 24 months.

“I think that is sufficient to achieve the goal of just punishment and determent in this case,” she said Friday, according to LNP.

Authorities said state police arrested Shirk at a gas station near Shippensburg the day after President Joe Biden’s inauguration in January 2021. Found in his car were an AR-15 rifle, two handguns and a box of ammunition, police said.

Authorities began looking for Shirk after his ex-wife reported he had threatened to kill her as well as government officials in the Washington area, according to an affidavit filed in state court. Police spotted his car parked at a gas station just off the interstate, about two hours north of Washington, and arrested him without incident.

Shirk, who was solicitor for Akron borough in Lancaster County before his arrest, was disbarred last year.

Defense attorney John Abom earlier called the case “very much making a mountain out of a molehill.” He said his client had the guns because he’s a target shooter, and was headed to Virginia to visit family.

Before he was sentenced, Shirk apologized to his clients, law enforcement, the courts and his ex-wife for his actions, LNP reported.

“I am not a terrorist,” he said. “I have no excuse. I should never have said what I said.”