SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – One of two men charged in the death of a man belonging to a rival motorcycle gang has been sentenced to 27 years in prison.
John Damien Hilt was sentenced on various charges after changing his plea to guilty under an agreement with prosecutors. All those sentences – ranging from 10 years to 27 years – are to be served concurrently, according to online court records.
From the original 16 charges levied against Hilt, he is to serve 27 years each for assault, kidnapping, and robbery, 20 years for second-degree murder, 15 years for unlawful use of a weapon, and 10 years on each of two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm.
Hilt and a second man, Justin Murphy, were charged in May of 2021 after police in Springfield found a man named James Kenney dead with gunshot wounds and began searching for a suspect.
According to a probable cause statement from the Springfield Police Department, Hilt and Murphy are members of the Family Values Gang while Kenney was a known member of the Southwest Honkies Gang. The Family Values and Southwest Honkies are rival gangs and are reported to be involved in several incidents against each other.
Individuals living nearby 321 W. Page, where the murder occurred, told police a grey vehicle parked in front of the residence, and three white males exited the vehicle wearing masks. The three men went inside the residence, and the individuals reported hearing several gunshots before seeing the men run back to their vehicle and leave.
On May 18, another shooting involving police officers occurred in Springfield at a Kum and Go at Kearney and Eastgate Street.
At the murder scene on May 17, one person told police he had seen Hilt and Murphy after hearing gunshots from Kenney’s residence and saw Hilt point a handgun at someone after the shooting in the backyard of the residence.
On May 18, detectives put out a warrant for Hilt’s arrest and found him at the Kum and Go on East Kearney. When officers tried to talk to Hill inside his vehicle, he began firing his weapon at police.
Hilt fled the Kum and Go but was eventually found and arrested.
Investigations included interviews with Murphy’s girlfriend, who told police she was told Murphy and Hilt went to Kenney’s house and Hilt shot Kenney.
Murphy is charged with second-degree murder and armed criminal action and is to stand trial in January of 2023.