March 3, 2009
A Brooksville man who threw the people of Columbus into a state of panic for a few hours last year has been sentenced to 38 years in jail.
Lennell Hearn, 70, who stood accused of shooting and wounding his wife Dorothy Hearn, former Columbus City Councilman Kamal Karriem and Columbus Police Department Reserve Officer Guy Taylor Feb. 13 pleaded guilty in Lowndes County Circuit Court to seven charges laid against him.
For one count of aggravated assault, 16th Circuit Judge Jim Kitchens Monday sentenced Hearn to eight years behind bars; for one count of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer he received an additional 30 years.
Another count of aggravated assault, three counts of aggravated assault on a police officer and one count of taking of a motor vehicle were retired.
Hearn faced charges for a Feb. 29, 2008, incident beginning at about 5 p.m., when police responded to a shots-fired call from the Soco gas station near 18th Avenue North, in the Town Square shopping center. Witnesses had called 911 to report hearing gunshots.
Upon arrival, police discovered Hearn wielding a pistol earlier having shot his wife and Karriem. Hearn then exchanged gunfire with Taylor and CPD Chief Joe St. John, who had been working out at the nearby Fitness Factor when the incident began. Taylor was shot three times.
Hearn then stole Taylor''s police cruiser and fled northward on Highway 45 North to a small wooded area near the Best Western Hotel. It was near a private residence in the area, where CPD Lt. Keith Worshaim shot Hearn in the back of the head.
The wound was not fatal, and Hearn was taken to University Medical Center in Jackson where he later recovered and was arrested.
Trials in the case have been delayed in the past, pending Hearn''s mental evaluations and a recent medical problem.
After some time in a mental health facility in Jackson, Hearn in December 2008 was deemed competent to stand trial.