A 34-year-old Bluff Road-area man got a 25-year sentence Monday for voluntary manslaughter in the 2010 execution-style slaying of an unarmed neighbor with whom he’d been quarrelling.
“You ain’t dead yet!” was what defendant Maurice Kinard screamed at the mortally wounded Desmond Lewis, 31, as Lewis lay bleeding on the ground, lawyers told Circuit Judge Diane Goodstein in a Richland County courtroom.
Then, said prosecutors Nicole Simpson and Joanna McDuffie, Kinard began shouting for someone in the crowd that had gathered to give him another gun because he’d run out of bullets.
No one gave him another gun, and Lewis soon was dead from the nine bullets that earlier had struck him.
Kinard was arrested two days after the Thanksgiving day 2010 killing. He has been held without bond for three years in the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center as defense lawyers assigned to his case kept taking other jobs.
McDuffie told the judge that evidence against Kinard was indisputable. It included a .40 mm Glock handgun found hidden in the ceiling of the Bluff Road-area residence where Kinard lived. The gun’s ballistics matched bullets pulled from Lewis’ body, and Kinard’s DNA was found on the Glock’s trigger, McDuffie said.
In pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter, which carries a maximum of 25 years in prison, Kinard avoided a jury trial in which prosecutors would have sought a sentence of 30 years to life without parole.
Kinard’s lawyer, Tivis Sutherland, urged Goodstein to give his client only a 20-year sentence, saying that the victim had been roaming the neighborhood shooting a gun into houses and making threats about Kinard.
Lewis “was driving around this area like a shark. He was always armed,” Sutherland said.
But prosecutors said Kinard’s actions deserved the maximum sentence.
“This case is indicative of how little some have come to value human life,” Simpson said.
Before passing sentence, Goodstein mused on the easy availability of guns these days.
“When I was coming along, and young men got mad at each other, they got in a good old-fashioned fist fight – nobody lost their life,” she said.
“These facts are absolutely aggravating,” she said just before giving Kinard the maximum sentence, with credit for the three years in jail he’s served.
Also urging Goodstein to give the maximum was Richland County sheriff’s investigator Sgt. Walter McDaniels, who told the judge that Kinard’s, “You ain’t dead yet!” scream, had achieved a kind of horrific legendary status along Bluff Road.
“We want to make sure we send the right message,” McDaniels said.
Kinard spoke a few words, too. “I’m sorry for what I’ve done,” he said.
Reach Monk at (803) 771-8344