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Man gets 35 years in murder-for-hire case

By Gavin Lesnick

This article was published January 4, 2013 at 11:36 a.m.


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— A man who pleaded guilty in a murder-for-hire scheme that resulted in the death of his son-in-law has been sentenced to 35 years in prison.

Second Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington said in a statement that Carl D. Kelley was sentenced Friday in Craighead County Circuit Court.

Kelley, who entered a guilty plea last year to a charge of first-degree murder, was one of four people arrested in the August 2011 death of real estate investor and appraiser Marc Despain. Two of the others — Terrance Barker and Johnny Hubbard — have already entered guilty pleas. The fourth, Kelley's daughter and Despain's wife, Michelle Despain, is due in court later this month for a pretrial hearing.

"Hubbard introduced Kelley to Barker, who acted as the trigger man in the murder," Ellington's office said in a statement. "Kelley is also accused of driving Barker to Despain’s home and letting him inside the residence to murder his son-in-law."

Barker pleaded guilty to first-degree murder last year and was sentenced to 35 years in prison. Hubbard pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of hindering apprehension and received an 18-year sentence, though he must also serve a previous drug conviction of 40 years because his probation was revoked.

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