Photos by J. Miles Cary/News Sentinel
Jessica Kennedy hugs defense team member Rhonda Lakin (foreground) after learning her fate
from the jury Monday night. Kennedy was convicted on four lesser charges for her role in the
July 2010 murder of Jim Miller.
|Published: 8:33 AM, 08/22/2012
Author: Michael Thomason
Source: The Monroe County Advocate
MADISONVILLE-After a week of testimony,
video watching and a packed courtroom at the edge of their seats, the
jury in the Jim Miller murder trial did the rarest of things: return
a verdict that seemed to please both sides.
Jessica Kennedy, 28, had been charged
with felony first-degree murder in the July 2010 death of Miller, 60,
but the jury didn't appear to feel she was guilty of that crime.
Instead, the jury convicted her of
facilitation of felony first-degree murder, basically meaning she was
there and helped in the killing. That crime carries a sentencing
range of 15-25 years, but Kennedy could serve as little as 30 percent
of the sentence depending on how Judge Walter Kurtz rules in a
sentencing hearing on Oct. 3 and how she comports herself in prison.
Kennedy was also convicted of
facilitation of aggravated robbery, facilitation of setting fire to
personal property and facilitation of abuse of a corpse. Those
offenses have sentence ranges of 3-6 years, 1-2 years and 11 months
29 days respectively. If things go her way (sentences run
concurrently, she gets credit for good behavior), taking into account
the two years she's already served, Kennedy could be out in less
than five years.
Kennedy's lawyer, John Eldridge, said
to get these convictions, after being charged with first-degree
murder, is amazing.
"That's an incredible come down
from such a high charge," he said. "Jessica is very excited by
this. She knows that someday she will have a new and better life."
See full story in the Wednesday, August 22, edition of The Advocate & Democrat.
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