Tymon Reed, who was convicted in January of killing 16-year-old Javon Reilly in September 2016 near Van Horn High School, was sentenced Friday to 17 years in state prison.
A Jackson County jury had found the 21-year-old Reed, of Kearney and originally from the St. Louis area, guilty of second-degree murder and armed criminal action in the shooting death of Reilly, who had been walking home from school. Circuit Judge Jennifer Phillips sentenced Reed according to the jury's recommendation – 17 years for murder and 3 for armed criminal action – but ran the sentences concurrently. The maximum should could have given under state law was consecutive sentences, which county prosecutors requested.
Under state law, Reed must serve 85 percent of his sentence – about 14 1/2 years – before he is eligible for parole. He had been out on bond since December 2016 before the trial and had been in state custody after the trial ended Jan. 12.
Prosecutors had charged Reed with first-degree murder and armed criminal action, and after the verdict they asked the jury for a maximum sentence of life in prison for murder plus 60 years for armed criminal action – 10 years for each time Reilly was hit by a bullet.
Reed, who had no prior criminal record, testified in his own defense on Wednesday. He said he went to Van Horn as school was letting out on Sept. 19, 2016, to try to talk with a student who had arranged a marijuana sale that ended with Reed being robbed at gunpoint. Instead, he encountered a group that included Reilly and they began arguing. Reed testified that he pulled out a gun, thinking he could scare Reilly and the others.
"I wanted them to leave me alone," he told the jury.
He and Reilly ended up tussling over the gun and he shot Reilly as Reilly tried to get away. Reed said the first shot came during the struggle for the gun.
"I panicked and kept firing," he testified. Reilly was fatally shot from behind. A Jackson County medical examiner testified he suffered five bullet wounds in his back or buttocks, plus a wounded finger that could have come from a bullet exiting his chest.
Prosecutors had argued that Reed could have avoided the fatal situation by simply not going near Van Horn, especially with a gun, and that he showed the premeditation necessary for first-degree murder because he could have walked away from a confrontation with Reilly instead of turning back, pulling out a gun and ultimately shooting him at least five times.