1 of ‘biggest players in gun violence’ in Springfield gets 23 years


A man described by prosecutors as one of the biggest players in gun violence in Springfield has been sentenced to more than 23 years in prison.

Dennis Kennedy Jr., 23, was sentenced Tuesday morning on two counts of discharging a firearm into a habitation and one count of improperly handling a firearm in a motor vehicle. Clark County Judge Richard O’Neill ordered him to serve a total of 23 and a half years.

“This is an individual that used guns to solve his problems and he did not care who he was going to hurt in trying to do that,” Clark County Assistant Prosecutor Brian Driscoll said.

READ MORE: Man accused of burglarizing Springfield home, hit with prosthetic leg

It’s a benefit to the entire Clark County community to have him behind bars for a long time, he said, as he has a history of charges related to guns.

“This was a great win today to not have to worry about this individual,” he said.

Kennedy was found guilty of the charges by a jury earlier this month. He received the maximum sentence for the charges he faced.

In court the judge said Kennedy turned the streets of Springfield into a war zone when he opened fire on two different houses.

RELATED: Gun thefts, illegal weapons linked to Springfield violence

“Mr. Kennedy used a semi-automatic rifle and fired approximately 19 shots into a house on Pine Street here in Clark County, Ohio, and then another 17 on a house on South Center,” Driscoll said.

Evidence showed there were children inside the home at the time of the shooting, he said.

“Luckily we weren’t here on murder charges,” he said.

Kennedy’s attorney argued he should face a lesser sentence because no one was injured in the shootings but the judge disagreed.

Kennedy was charged in connection to the fatal shooting of George Walker Jr. in 2014. But those charges were dropped when a key witness was killed. Walker was shot near the intersection of Grand and Lowry avenues and died at the hospital. At the time of the shooting, callers to 9-1-1 reported hearing as many as 10 shots fired.

“There was evidence that he was connected to it,” Driscoll said. “Unfortunately an eyewitness in that matter was killed in a separate incident and was no longer available for us at trial.”

Now it’s a good time for anyone with information on that case to come forward, prosecutors said.

MORE COVERAGE: Find out who Springfield to hire as new police, fire chiefs

“We believe with Mr. Kennedy now in prison for the next 20-plus years that those witnesses should now feel safe to come forward,” Driscoll said.

He has been in contact with Walker’s family, Driscoll said, and they’re crushed that no one has been convicted for his death.

“They want the individual who committed this crime, who killed their son, to answer for that,” he said, “and we are still looking to try to do that for them.”

Kennedy is already serving an 18-month prison sentence for a separate improperly handling a firearm in a motor vehicle charge.

He was convicted in that case in August 2016 but skipped out on his sentencing. He was later found hiding in an attic in South Carolina.

3 QUICK CRIME READS

Several homes shot at, damaged in rural Clark County

Clark County Jail inmates to learn about life after addiction

Springfield man allegedly robs store, points gun at customer’s head



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Crime

Day care provider gets probation for trying to hang toddler, running over 2 men
Day care provider gets probation for trying to hang toddler, running over 2 men

A Minnesota home day care worker has been sentenced to 10 years of probation for trying to hang a toddler and running over two men. According to KARE, Nataliia Karia of Minneapolis was arrested in November 2016 after authorities said she hanged a toddler in her care from a homemade noose in her basement. Karia fled after Joseph Sabir, the father of...
Man suspected of nearly beating girlfriend's daughter to death
Man suspected of nearly beating girlfriend's daughter to death

Police in Memphis, Tennessee, arrested a man after investigators said his girlfriend's child suffered life-threatening injuries while under his care.  According to the arrest affidavit, the suspect, Latarius Curry, was alone with the victim and two other children when he called his girlfriend.  He reportedly told the victim's mother...
Sunshine, warm temperatures return for the day
Sunshine, warm temperatures return for the day

Warm but not muggy Dry time this week Showers and storms by weekend  TODAY: A nice morning with it being muggy early, but becoming more comfortable through the afternoon. It’ll be warmer than normal again with highs in the mid to upper 80s. Overall dry day with sunshine and some afternoon clouds.  WEDNESDAY: Another beautiful day...
Texas woman accused of biting off, swallowing part of victim's nose
Texas woman accused of biting off, swallowing part of victim's nose

A Texas woman was arrested and charged with assault after police say she bit off and swallowed part of another woman's nose. According to KTRK, the victim, identified only as "Tatiana," said the incident happened last week after she, her neighbor and the neighbor's guest came back to Tatiana's home after a night out. When the neighbor's guest...
Bartender's heartwarming act of kindness for homeless man goes viral
Bartender's heartwarming act of kindness for homeless man goes viral

A Tennessee bartender's generous act has gone viral. >> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news  According to a Facebook post by Dawn Wilt, an unidentified homeless man recently walked into Huey's, a popular Memphis restaurant, with only $2. >> Read more trending news  He asked the bartender...
More Stories