Three Appear in Federal Court for Gun Crimes

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Three individuals appeared in federal court today for gun crimes. 

Eddie Lee Conley, 45, of Logan County, was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm.  According to court documents, Conley admitted that during the early morning hours of May 15, 2020, he possessed a .38 caliber Cobra derringer-style handgun in his motel room at the Roadway Inn in Chapmanville, West Virginia.  Conley was prohibited from possessing firearms due to a 2016 conviction for conspiracy to operate a clandestine drug laboratory in Logan County Circuit Court. Conley further admitted that he also possessed a different .38 caliber handgun in Madison, West Virginia, on January 29, 2020. The West Virginia State Police and Madison Police Department conducted the investigation with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).   Assistant United States Attorney Nowles Heinrich is handling the prosecution.

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In another case, John Leach, 55, formerly of St. Albans, was sentenced to 37 months in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm.  According to court documents, on November 25, 2018, Leach was driving an improperly registered truck and was pulled over by the West Virginia State Police. In the truck, the Trooper found a loaded .25 caliber pistol. Leach was prohibited from possessing firearms due to multiple, prior felony convictions, including a 2006 conviction for malicious wounding in Kanawha County Circuit Court.  The West Virginia State Police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Steve Loew handled the prosecution.

Also, Kayla Slater, 29, of Charleston, pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. According to court documents, on August 27, 2020, officers with the Charleston Police Department attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a vehicle in which Slater was a passenger. Officers knew that Slater had several outstanding municipal arrest warrants.  The driver of the vehicle failed to stop and sped away from the scene.  Officers later located Slater walking on Beech Avenue in Charleston and could see a Beretta Px4 Storm 9mm semi-automatic pistol in plain view in Slater’s handbag.  Slater admitted to the officers that the gun was hers and that she was addicted to heroin.  Slater is prohibited from possessing firearms due to being an habitual user of a  controlled substance.  Slater faces up to 10 years in prison when she is sentenced on October 14, 2021.  The Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team (MDENT) conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Negar Kordestani is handling the prosecution.

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Acting United States Attorney Lisa G. Johnston made the announcement and commended the investigative work of the West Virginia State Police, the Madison Police Department, the Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team (MDENT), and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

United States District Judge Irene C. Berger presided over the hearings. 

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia. Related court documents and information can be found on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:20-cr-00172 (Leach), 2:21-cr-00035 (Conley) and 2:21-cr-00079 (Slater).

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