One defendant was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty Wednesday to killing a Rutherford County resident in July 2011.
Aaron Walker, 25, of Bradyville Pike, pleaded guilty to fatally shooting victim Kevin Barrett, 45, of Burks Hollow Road in southern Rutherford County.
Under an agreement, Walker entered pleas to felony murder, conspiracy to commit especially aggravated robbery and especially aggravated robbery of Barrett. Felony murder is when a victim is killed while the killer is committing another serious crime. In this case, felony murder was committed while Walker was robbing Barrett.
He also pleaded guilty to especially aggravated kidnapping of Barrett's girlfriend, Regina Flowers. Charges of burglary and theft were dismissed.
Circuit Court Judge David M. Bragg accepted the plea offer worked out by Assistant District Attorney Paul Newman and defense attorneys Joshua Crane and Ryan Freeze.
Judge Bragg sentenced Walker to life in prison with the possibility of parole.
Sheriff Robert Arnold said Detectives Bryant Gregory and Steve Kohler worked diligently to identify and charge the suspects the same day.
"We hope Kevin Barrett's family and Ms. Flowers will find some peace," Sheriff Arnold said.
Co-defendant John Lamendola, 23, of Old Lascassas Pike is scheduled for a hearing Aug. 11 in Circuit Court.
Prosecutor Newman said Walker, accompanied by Lamendola, broke into Barrett's home and tied Flowers with cloths and duct tape.
"Ms. Flowers was held at gunpoint for over an hour while waiting for Mr. Barrett," Newman said.
Walker shot Barrett in the hand, the prosecutor said. As Barrett tried to flee, Walker shot him in the shoulder.
"He fired another shot," Newman said. "This struck Kevin Barrett in the head."
The suspects fled but were located by Murfreesboro Police the same evening in an apartment complex on South Rutherford Boulevard.
Detectives Bryant Gregory and Steve Kohler interviewed both suspects and charged them the same night.
Newman told Judge Bragg he discussed the plea deal with Barrett's mother and Flowers.
Judge Bragg told Barrett's family he hope this would be an opportunity for them to have some closure.
"I'm sorry for your loss," Judge Bragg said.
24 Year old accomplice John Lamendola of Murfreesboro, pleaded guilty to especially aggravated kidnapping of Barrett's girlfriend, Regina Flowers, and conspiracy to commit robbery. The plea landed Lamendola a 20-year prison sentence.
Looking back, below you can hear the 9-1-1 call made by Mrs. Flowers on the day of the murder:
Lisa Marchesoni, PIO, RCSO