Man claiming sovereign citizenship sentenced for gun charges

Man claiming sovereign citizenship sentenced for gun charges

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A man has been found guilty of gun charges despite not believing himself to be susceptible to prosecution.

Kyrief Kelly, 29, was sentenced to four years following unlawful carrying of a pistol and possession of a stolen handgun charges.

Kelly self-identified as a Moorish American, claiming he was immune from prosecution based on a 1786 treaty between the United States and Morocco.

Despite the Court's caution, Kelly exercised his constitutional right to represent himself.

"Yesterday, Kelly learned the hard way that he was not immune to prosecution and that he was not above being held accountable for illegally carrying a gun," Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said. "Hopefully, Kelly's removal from our streets for a bit will send a message to Kelly and other self-proclaimed sovereign citizens as well as those who thumb their noses at our gun laws."

On Aug. 28, 2015, Kelly was apprehended on Nassau Street after running from a traffic stop, according to a news release by the Ninth Judicial Court.

As officers chased Kelly, someone called 911 to tell officers Kelly threw a handgun into a yard on Nassau Street. A fully loaded SARMS 9mm handgun was located on the property.

After Kelly was put in the patrol car, Kelly reportedly confessed that he needed it for protection, though he denied making these claims in trial ail, claiming he threw drugs in a trash can.

In conversations with his brother, Kelly reportedly admitted to throwing something in the year near a trash can and wiping it off before continuing down Nassau Street, according to the release.

Kelly was found guilty of both weapons charges and was sentenced to four years in prison with two years probation to follow both charges.

Kelly has two additional pending charges of unlawful carrying of a pistol.

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