May 26, 2018 10:02:47 PM
The contents of this article have been modified since its original posting.
A Columbus man who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder Friday will spend 35 years in the Mississippi Department of Corrections.
Arthur Kennedy, 42, admitted to killing 32-year-old Timothy Barker outside Club Heidi Ho on 22nd Street South just after midnight on Jan. 1, 2015. Kennedy had been hired to DJ at the Heidi Ho the night of the shooting.
Lowndes County Circuit Court Judge Jim Kitchens sentenced Kennedy to 40 years in prison with 35 to serve and five suspended. Upon release, Kennedy will serve five years of post-release supervision.
Kennedy's attorney, Jay Hurdle of Starkville, declined to comment following the plea.
In court, Assistant District Attorney Lindsay Clemons said Kennedy and Barker became involved in an altercation inside the club the night of the shooting. She said Kennedy chased Barker out of the club and shot him five or six times as Barker ran away.
"Mr. Kennedy walked back into the club, held up the gun and said, 'Does anyone else have a problem?'" Clemons said, relating what witnesses told investigators.
Kennedy apologized to family members of Barker who were in the courtroom and said he'd been high on marijuana at the time of the shooting. He said being high had made him think his life was in danger.
"It was just a spur of the moment thing that happened," he said.
But the victim's nephew, Donterrio Barker, who was also a witness to the crime, disagreed. He said the night of the shooting Kennedy somehow managed to get past the bouncer with a gun and magazines, which he then showed on the club's stage.
"If anyone's life in there was in danger, it was everyone but him," Donterrio said.
Donterrio said he was close with his uncle and said life hasn't been the same since Timothy died.
"Man, when I lost my uncle, I struggled," he said. "... I couldn't get a job. I couldn't get my mind right. ... (Kennedy) did it for no reason, right in front of me, just out of spite."
At the time of Kennedy's initial arrest, he told law enforcement officers his name was Billy Lee Kennedy, something he had done in prior arrests. Billy Lee Kennedy is Arthur Kennedy's brother.
Billy Lee Kennedy is currently serving a 40-year sentence for a separate 2015 murder.
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