Felon Sentenced to Fourteen Years for Gun Possession

DA Charme Allen announces that prosecutors in the Career Gang Unit obtained a fourteen-year sentence against a multi-convicted felon in possession of a firearm.  Donald D. Kirkland, 42, was convicted of Unlawful Possession of a Weapon by a Convicted Violent Felon and Reckless Endangerment.  Judge Hector Sanchez sentenced Kirkland to fourteen years to serve in the Tennessee Department of Correction.

In a two-day trial in September, Assistant District Attorneys TaKisha Fitzgerald and Karla Mendez explained to the jury that on November 9, 2021, Knoxville Police Department Officer Francisco Vargas responded to a 911 call made by an employee of the Weigels gas station on Western Avenue.  The caller reported an intoxicated driver parked at the gas pumps.  While KPD was on their way, the vehicle left Weigels.  Ofc. Vargas located the vehicle traveling on Western Avenue at a high rate of speed and attempted to stop the vehicle.  After a short pursuit, the vehicle stopped, and Ofc. Vargas found Kirkland in the driver’s seat and another individual in the passenger seat who was overdosing.  The Knoxville Fire Department administered naloxone to the passenger, who regained consciousness.  During the incident, officers located a handgun in Kirkland’s pocket.  Kirkland has multiple felony convictions making it unlawful for him to possess a handgun.

“Gang members caught with guns can expect to receive long sentences, especially when those gang members have violent criminal histories,” said DA Allen.

Kirkland has a prior robbery conviction from 2007 and three drug trafficking convictions.  He has also been identified as a member of the Crips street gang.  Assistant Victim Witness Coordinator Sheri Burkett aided in the prosecution of this case.

If you have any questions, please contact Sean McDermott at 865-215-2515 or [email protected]. For more information about the District Attorney’s Office, visit our website at dag.knoxcountytn.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.