Columbia man pleads guilty to drug charge

Tuesday, October 24, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 3:49 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A 30-year-old Columbia man facing a murder charge in the beating death of Carlos Kelly pleaded guilty to first-degree drug trafficking Monday in the 13th Circuit Court.

Rodney Eugene Cunningham, who is charged with second-degree murder and first-degree robbery in Kelly’s slaying last March, was scheduled for sentencing on Dec. 11 for the drug trafficking charge.

After a motion from defense attorney Richard French was denied by Circuit Judge Gene Hamilton, Cunningham hung his head, returned to his seat in the corner of the jury box and mouthed to a woman in the courtroom: “They’re going to give me life ... I can’t do life.”

Cunningham sold more than two grams of a controlled substance with a cocaine base to a co-operating citizen on April 20 and May 2. He faces 10 years to life in prison for the drug charge, a class A felony.

Cunningham was arrested March 30 on drug charges. Kelly was killed a day earlier on March 29. Cunningham will go to court for second-degree murder and first-degree robbery on Jan. 30, 2007. Nicole Gorovsky is the prosecuting attorney on the drug charge.

Like what you see here? Become a member.

Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.