Biting his lip and appearing, for the first time over the course of his two murder trials, as young as his 21 years, Kwan Kearney was sentenced today to 45 years in prison for the shooting death of Jamal Wilson.
The sentence, Judge Thomas Motley said, was to be served in addition to the 60 year sentence Kearney was given just months ago for the shooting death of Joseph Alonzo Sharps Jr.
“He’ll die in jail,” Kearney’s attorney, Gene Johnson, warned the court, while Kearney chewed on his lower lip.
Kearney was found guilty in March of fatally shooting Jamal Demetrius Wilson in Nov. 2010. The charges included premeditated first-degree murder. Kearney pled innocent and Johnson argued that Kearney had no reason to kill Wilson; Kearney’s family testified at trial that the men were “best friends.” Johnson argued that the government’s witnesses in the case were unreliable; at least two of them had plea agreements with the government in other cases and were awaiting sentencing when they testified against Kearney.
In December, Kearney was convicted of first-degree murder while armed in the shooting death of Joseph Alonzo Sharps Jr. Sharps was fatally shot just six days before Wilson was killed and the same day Kearney was released from jail, prosecutors said.
He was sentenced to a total of 60 years in prison for that crime, a crime that he maintained, even at sentencing, that he didn’t commit.
“My condolences to the family,” Kearney said at his sentencing in February. “But you all got the wrong man. I ain’t never killed a man in my life.”
His words in court Friday were brief as well. Looking over his shoulder to address Wilson’s mother he said, “I’d like to tell Miss Maxine I’m sorry about your loss.”
“I don’t know why someone thinks I killed my best friend,” he said.
The two sentences added together equal 105 years in prison.
“The evidence of your guilt was overwhelming,” Motley told Kearney. “That was you in the shootout there in the streets of the District of Columbia. It is a tragedy. Somebody has to think about the people who are killed. Each and every life has value. If you killed two people, you face two sentences.”
Kearney’s co-defendant in the Wilson case, Jeremy Risper, was also convicted of murder. His sentencing was postponed today because he requested a new attorney.
The Government’s Sentencing Memorandum is below.