WELCH, W.Va. (WVVA) – Just one day after being found guilty for murder in the first degree, jurors have granted Charles Kennedy mercy.
During Friday’s hearing, jury members listened to witnesses from both sides on Kennedy’s character and reasons why he should or shouldn’t be shown mercy.
Electing not to speak during the trial, Charles Kennedy took his opportunity and spoke out. Mr. Kennedy stated he and Emily were not fighting on December 22, 2017. During his testimony, Kennedy laid out how that incident unfolded as he saw them. He continued to maintain the incident itself was an accident.
“I wish it was me instead of her,” stated Kennedy fighting back tears on the stand.
During his closing statements, DJ Morgan told the jury he understood their conviction. But to have mercy, because five children still need their father. Morgan explained how mercy worked to the jury, noting Kennedy would not be out next week, but there’s a process to earning parole.
Chief Prosecuting Attorney Emily Miller, kept her closing arguments brief, reminding jurors of all the evidence they’ve seen this week. Miller pointed out that the five children in a photo with Hatfield, will never see their mother.
“I’m asking you to show Mr. Kennedy the same type of mercy he showed Emily Hatfield,” stated Miller.
Kennedy will have to serve 15 years before he is eligible for parole.