349th State District Judge Pam Foster Fletcher sentenced Larry Warren to 60 years in prison and a $1,000 fine on Wednesday after being found guilty of murder three months prior for the shooting death of another local man.
Warren, 38, was convicted for the death of Jacob Kennedy at a residence in the 100 block of CR 1121, just south of Elkhart, where a dispute involving Warren’s common-law wife, Audrey Clark, was taking place.
According to testimony presented during the four-day trial, Warren shot Kennedy in the head with a .22-caliber rifle outside the residence sometime around 1 a.m. on Aug. 29, 2010.
The state, represented by Anderson County District Attorney Doug Lowe and Assistant DA Scott Holden, founded their case on Kennedy being in the wrong place at the wrong time, a victim of mistaken identity by Warren.
Palestine attorney Mark Cargill, representing the defense, shared a different perspective of the event surrounding Kennedy’s death — referencing a drug deal gone bad, as Clark had testified.
The punishment (or sentencing) phase of the trial was delayed by Fletcher in May due to the defense’s request to bring in an expert witness regarding sudden passion.
Testifying for the state included family members of the victim, his parents Wes and Kim Kennedy; and his brother, Zack.
“They shared about the devastating loss and impact that Jacob’s death had on the family — how it hurt each of them personally and how their lives had changed,” Anderson County District Attorney Doug Lowe said Friday.
Angela Sheeley, a probation officer with the Anderson County Adult Parole and Community Services office, shared results of a pre-sentence investigation she had done on Warren.
Warren’s criminal history included four driving while intoxicated charges and a family violence arrest. He also pled guilty to the charge of felony possession of a firearm in the shooting case.
Testifying on behalf of Warren included psychologist Dr. Thomas Allen of Flint, a friend of 10 years John Piersol and Bridgette York, the mother of Audrey Clark, Warren’s girlfriend at the time.
“Dr. Thomas testified that Warren had a low likelihood of committing additional acts of criminal violence,” Lowe reported. “Piersol said he felt that, in spite of his alcohol abuse problems, Warren was a ‘good guy’ who could stay out of trouble.
“York testified that she thought the whole incident was a drug deal gone bad — and Warren was trying to save Clark.”
Warren’s 60-year sentence includes an almost three-year credit for time served from his arrest in September 2010. He will have to serve a total of 30 years before he is eligible for parole.
“Our office is very satisfied with the punishment and are happy with the results,” Lowe said. “We are hopeful that this will bring some resolution or finality to the victim’s family.”
Mary Rainwater may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org