Ex-Councilman Gets Maximum For Lying On Gun Application

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A former South Carolina county councilman has been given the maximum 18-month sentence for lying about an indictment on child sex charges when he tried to buy a gun.

“If I could give you more, I probably would,” federal district Judge Mary Geiger Lewis told Kerry Trent Kinard when she sentenced him Wednesday for falsifying the gun purchase application.

With credit for time served, he will spend eight months in federal prison, news agencies reported. Lewis also ordered Kinard to pay a $5,000 fine and undergo a mental evaluation.

During a bond hearing just before the sentencing, Kinard’s wife, who had obtained a court order to keep him away, testified that the retired state trooper and former Bamberg County Council chairman had repeatedly threatened to kill her.

Kinard, 50, faces trial next month on charges that accuse him of — among other things — molesting a boy and trying to rape a girl. He was indicted in September 2020 and has pleaded not guilty.

When he applied in December to buy a pistol, Kinard stated that he was not under a felony indictment or a restraining order.

He pleaded guilty in April to falsifying the application.

Defense attorney Bakari Sellers told the judge, “My client pleaded guilty to a crime of stupidity,” the Post and Courier reported. Kinard wanted to protect himself after seeing threats against him online, the attorney said.

Lewis noted that Kinard had been told he wasn't allowed to have any guns, The State reported.

“You have a judge who says you don’t need to have a gun, and then you go out and try to buy a gun,” she said.

Federal prosecutor Elliott Daniels said Kinard had a pattern of ignoring court orders, including a monthlong hotel stay after being ordered to stay with his brother.

He “lived as if the rules didn’t apply to him,” Daniels wrote in a sentencing memo.

He noted in court that Kinard had been a magistrate as well as a state trooper.

“He knows better,” Daniels said. “He was in some of the most powerful positions in his community.”