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

Former male stripper makes another run for Ohio governor
Former male stripper makes another run for Ohio governor

Dayton Democrat Larry Ealy, who once worked as an exotic dancer, is making a second run for Ohio governor. “Why make another run at it? I’ve got some unfinished business,” said Ealy, a 55-year-old father of 10. He said he believes that minorities, particularly African-Americans, have been denied due process and equal rights. ...
'Mini-Me' actor Verne Troyer dead at 49
'Mini-Me' actor Verne Troyer dead at 49

Verne Troyer, famous for his role as Mini-Me in the "Austin Powers" comedies, died Saturday. He was 49. 
Amish buggy crashes like Friday’s fatal incident not uncommon in Ohio, data show
Amish buggy crashes like Friday’s fatal incident not uncommon in Ohio, data show

Friday night’s fatal crash in which a pickup truck hit a horse-drawn buggy shares similarities with other automobile-buggy accidents in the state, according to Ohio Department of Transportation data. An ODOT study of Amish buggy crashes in Oho involving a motor vehicle from 2007 to 2016 identified 1,412 crashes leading to 25 fatalities and...
Casa del Sazón open for business despite fire 
Casa del Sazón open for business despite fire 

Tex-Mex restaurant Casa del Sazón notified its patrons via their Facebook page they have resumed normal operations after a fire was put on the premises Friday evening. The fire department was dispatched at approximately 8:30 p.m., after a cigarette was thrown on mulch outside the building.  Restaurant manager Armando Soto said no one...
A plane crash at Camp Kern killed 2 people; family members want this change for safety
A plane crash at Camp Kern killed 2 people; family members want this change for safety

The family of the passenger killed in a 2016 plane crash in Warren County is seeking to have legislation passed that would ensure aerial markers are placed in areas where ziplines are located to improve the safety of those flying over the low hanging lines. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released its final report on the crash this...
More Stories