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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Garfield man sentenced to 2 years in federal prison after building a red, white and blue cannon in his garage

UPDATED: Tue., July 6, 2021

The Thomas S. Foley United States Courthouse, seen in 2014.   (JESSE TINSLEY)
The Thomas S. Foley United States Courthouse, seen in 2014.  (JESSE TINSLEY)

A 63-year-old Garfield man will spend two years in federal prison after constructing a working red, white and blue cannon in his garage.

Kent W. Kimberling has been in custody of the Spokane County Jail since January 2020. In August 2019, investigators with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms discovered the unregistered destructive device in the home he shares with his mother.

Kimberling pleaded guilty in March to a single felony criminal count of possession of an unregistered destructive device. He had been facing a maximum 10-year prison sentence, and his sentencing hearing before U.S. District Court Judge William Fremming Nielsen was held in a closed courtroom Tuesday morning at the request of his defense attorney.

Investigators went to Kimberling’s home to conduct a welfare check. They found the cannon, which was later tested by federal agents and found to be operational. It fired a soda can, “leaving a large hole in the center of (a) target,” according to court records.

The bore of the cannon was measured to be 1¼ inches, greater than the ½ -inch bore permissible under federal law. Two other cannons were discovered, smaller than are prohibited by federal law.

In an interview with agents, Kimberling said he believed construction of the device was legal. Investigators also said Kimberling told them “numerous times that he believed the police and police chief were out to get him and that the Town of Garfield is corrupt.”

Kimberling’s defense argued that the 63-year-old is in poor health and cannot receive treatment while incarcerated at the jail. He also argued that he is the sole caretaker for his widowed mother in Garfield.

Kimberling also disputed there was any threat made to public officials.

The sentence includes a three-year period of supervised release after incarceration. Kimberling’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether the months he’s spent in county jail would count toward his time in federal custody.

Kimberling was listed in custody of the Spokane County Jail on Tuesday afternoon.

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