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Malvern man gets 38 years for his part in Mother's Day homicide

by Steven Mross | September 16, 2021 at 3:24 a.m.

HOT SPRINGS -- The second of two Malvern men charged in a 2019 Mother's Day shooting that left a man dead and seriously injured his father was sentenced to 38 years in prison Tuesday after he pleaded guilty in Garland County Circuit Court.

Tommy Woodfork III, 20, was set to stand trial Sept. 27 and could have faced up to life in prison, but opted to plead guilty to first-degree murder for the May 12, 2019, death of Donyell King, 23, and two counts of terroristic act involving the shootings of Donyell King and his father, Donald King, 50, during an altercation outside a residence on Lily Ruth Court.

Woodfork was sentenced to 38 years in prison on each count, to run concurrently, and will have to serve 70%, or at least 26 years and six months, before he is eligible for parole, chief deputy prosecutor Kara Petro told The Sentinel-Record.

Woodfork also pleaded guilty to a third count of terroristic act for shots fired at Donyell King's mother, who was not injured, and to first-degree battery for the injuries to Donald King. He was sentenced to 20 years on each count, to run concurrently with each other and with the other sentences.

Petro said she withdrew a felony firearm enhancement that would have added another 15 years as part of the plea agreement. Woodfork is also permanently barred from any future contact with the surviving victims or any witnesses in the case, she said, noting King's family approved the plea offer.

Woodfork "was the actual shooter and therefore received a plea offer of more prison time than what his non-shooter accomplice received at jury trial," Petro said, noting Woodfork's lack of felony convictions affected the sentence range.

Woodfork's accomplice, Kaylen Dantrell Burks, 25, was sentenced July 27 to 90 years in prison after he was convicted of second-degree murder and three counts of terroristic act July 1 after a four-day trial. Under sentencing guidelines, since second-degree murder is not eligible for the 70% requirement, Burks will be eligible for parole in 22 years.

Burks was originally charged with first-degree murder for Donyell King's death, but the jury opted for the lesser offense and recommended a sentence of 30 years on the murder charge, 20 years on two of the terroristic-act counts, and five years on the third count with 15 years added for the felony firearm enhancement, all consecutive for a total of 90 years.

The jury found him innocent of a first-degree battery charge stemming from the injuries to Donald King, even though they found him guilty of the terroristic-act charges involving the shots fired at Donald King, Donyell King and his mother, 41, who was in the back seat and not hit by any of the bullets.

The jury had recommended some of the sentences be run concurrently for a total of 65 years, but Judge Marcia Hearnsberger ruled to run them consecutively since Burks had instigated the confrontation that resulted in the shootings.

Print Headline: For guilty plea, man gets 38 years in fatal shooting

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