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Federal grand jury indicts man accused of threatening U.S. senators and 'suicide by cop'

A trial for Kenelm L. Shirk III is scheduled to start April 5.

Ted Czech
Lebanon Daily News

Charges against a Lebanon man who allegedly threatened to kill members of the U.S. Senate have been transferred to the federal level, according to a news release from Acting U.S. Attorney Bruce D. Brandler.

In January, Pennsylvania State Police in Chambersburg, Franklin County, arrested and charged Kenelm L. Shirk, 71, with two counts of terroristic threats. His bail was denied "to protect the public," according to online court dockets.

Shirk is an attorney and owner of Shirk Law Associates of Ephrata.

Since then, charges filed by state police have been withdrawn, and on Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced Shirk was indicted Feb. 3 by a federal grand jury.

Convictions on the federal level typically carry heavier penalties than those on the county and state levels.

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Prior to Shirk's arrest, Cornwall Police Department in Lebanon County issued an alert for him after he allegedly threatened to kill his wife and government officials, in addition to planning "suicide by cop" if confronted by law enforcement.

State police intercepted Shirk driving in Chambersburg, seizing a rifle, handguns and ammunition from his vehicle. Shirk was on his way to Washington, D.C., according to the release.

Kenelm Shirk

Shirk pleaded not guilty to the charges. He remains in custody for a trial scheduled to start April 5, according to the release.

The case was investigated by the FBI, state police, the Franklin County DA’s Office, Cornwall Police, and Washington D.C. Capitol Police. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jaime M. Keating is prosecuting the case.

The maximum penalty under federal law for this offense is 10 years, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine, the release states.

Ted Czech is a multi-platform crime/emergency journalist with The York Daily Record. He can be reached at tczech@ydr.com, at 717-771-2033 or on Twitter at @TedCzechYDR