FROM KENTON CIRCUIT COURT HONORABLE MARTIN J. SHEEHAN, JUDGE
ACTION NO. 13-CR-00187
FOR APPELLANT: John Gerhart Landon Assistant Public Advocate
FOR APPELLEE: Andy Beshear Attorney General of Kentucky David
B. Abner Assistant Attorney General
BEFORE: J. LAMBERT, MAZE, AND NICKELL, JUDGES.
LAMBERT, J., JUDGE
Sheets appeals from the Kenton Circuit Court judgment of
conviction and sentence of six years' imprisonment for
Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. Kentucky
Revised Statute (KRS) 527.040. We affirm.
was arrested after a search warrant (pursuant to another
matter) was executed at his home in Elsmere, Kentucky. In the
closet of the master bedroom, Detective Dennis McCarty
confiscated a High Point .45 caliber semiautomatic pistol.
The firearm's magazine contained nine rounds, and the
slide was pulled forward. Sheets, who was living at the house
sporadically, acknowledged ownership of the handgun but
claimed he was unaware that it remained on the premises. When
McCarty ran a criminal records check on Sheets it revealed
that Sheets was a convicted felon. McCarty charged Sheets
with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.
trial was held on September 10, 2013. It was Sheets's
defense that, although he readily admitted ownership of the
gun, he was not in actual possession of it. Sheets claimed
that, subsequent to his prior conviction (a factor which he
also does not contest), he moved the gun to his father's
house in Covington. Both Sheets and his wife (Rhonda, who
testified in his defense at the trial) denied knowledge that
the gun was in their bedroom closet.
circuit court instructed the jury on actual and constructive
possession of the handgun. Sheets was convicted as charged
and sentenced accordingly. He appeals.
sole issue for our consideration concerns the instructions to
the jury. Sheets argues that, by giving the instruction on
constructive possession, the circuit court negated the
defense. We disagree.
527.040 describes, in pertinent part, the Commonwealth's
burden in proving its case against Sheets:
(1) A person is guilty of possession of a firearm by a
convicted felon when he possesses, manufactures, or
transports a firearm when he has been convicted of a felony,
as defined by the laws of the jurisdiction in which he was
convicted, in any state or federal court and has not:
(a) Been granted a full pardon by the Governor or by the
President of the United States;
(b) Been granted relief by the United States Secretary of the
Treasury pursuant to the Federal Gun Control Act ...