Cunningham sentenced in murder of Carlos Kelly

Tuesday, November 13, 2007 | 12:03 p.m. CST; updated 7:57 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

COLUMBIA — Rodney Cunningham, 31, was sentenced to 20 years in prison today for the 2006 beating death of Carlos Kelly.

Cunningham was sentenced to a term of 20 years for second-degree murder and 20 years for first-degree attempted robbery. The two terms will be served concurrently.

Police presence was heavy this morning as Cunningham was escorted to the Boone County Courthouse. Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Steven Berry said extra security was called after threats were made against Cunningham and his family. Berry said he didn’t know who made those threats.

Cunningham’s term starts immediately in the Missouri Department of Corrections.

The sentencing was part of a plea deal offered in exchange for his testimony against Travis Midgyett.

Cunningham and Midgyett, 28, were charged with first-degree attempted robbery and second-degree murder in connection with the March 29 killing of Carlos Kelly.

Cunningham was convicted in May. Midgyett was found guilty last Friday.

If he hadn’t agreed to testify against Midgyett, Cunningham would have faced 30 years to life for the charges.

Midgyett’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for Dec. 10.

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