COVINGTON — A 53-year-old Eastern Kentucky man has received a four-year prison term after trying to run though a presidential security barricade in a car loaded with guns during Barack Obama’s visit to the region last September.
Kerry T. Prater was sentenced Tuesday by U.S. District Judge David Bunning. Prater, who has a history of mental illness, had pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a person committed to a mental institution. Prater was involuntarily committed to a mental hospital in 2001 and 2005 based on danger he posed to himself and others.
Prater’s attorney, Kerry Neff, had asked for leniency.
“Although it was determined that Mr. Prater is competent to stand trial, it was opined that he does suffer from a personality disorder not otherwise specified with paranoia and antisocial features,” Neff wrote in a sentencing memorandum. “It was also determined that, based upon the results of testing, Mr. Prater’s cognitive abilities lie in the low average range.”
The sentence was only three months shorter than what Assistant U.S. Attorney Tony Bracke had sought.
“The nature and circumstances of (Prater’s) conduct posed more danger to the community than offenders committing similar offenses,” Bracke wrote in his sentencing memorandum.
“He has a history of threats and violence that amplify the ordinary dangers posed by a prohibited person with firearms. His insistence on placing himself and his arsenal in the presence of the presidential motorcade created a real risk of violence.”
Prater tried to run the roadblock set at an entrance ramp from Interstate 275 to Interstate 71/75 in Erlanger as Obama’s motorcade was returning to Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport after a campaign rally. Prater drove past the barricade and then swerved off the road into the grassy area. A pursuing police officer pulled partially in front of Prater’s car and edged over until Prater had to either strike the cruiser or stop.
After the car stopped, Prater refused to get out and had to be removed at gunpoint and forced to the ground – moments before the presidential motorcade passed. Inside the passenger compartment of the car were two loaded handguns, a semi-automatic rifle and several hundred rounds of ammunition.