A jury on Monday sentenced a Beckville man to six years for killing another man on Easter 2018 at a Harrison County ATV park.
The Harrison County jury deliberated for 45 minutes before returning the sentence for Richard “Blayne” Anderson, 26, after on Friday returning a guilty verdict for murder in the death of Stacey “Keith” Carr at Sabine Rivers Rats ATV Park in Marshall. Anderson faced five to 99 years to life on the charge.
Carr’s family, who were sitting in the courtroom, wept upon the reading of the verdict.
“The one thing I thought hard about is what Wesley Carr (the victim’s father) told you this morning: This is a lose-lose situation,” Harrison County District Attorney Reid McCain told jurors in closing arguments, pointing out that the two families, who are both from Panola County and know each other, have each suffered a loss.
McCain said the victim’s family has lost their loved one forever, and that Anderson will be taken away from his family during his sentence for the crime.
“For the defendant, he’s going to get taken away from his small family, but he’s young. In some way, he’ll be back, the way parole works (if the person is eligible). But the Carrs will never get Keith Carr back,” McCain said as he asked the jury to assess a punishment of no less than 20 years.
“His parents will never get him back — aunts, uncles — they’ll never get him back,” McCain said.
The shooting occurred in the morning of April 1, 2018, at the ATV park. A witness told responding Harrison County Sheriff’s Office deputies that the shooting started after Carr confronted Anderson for allegedly assaulting Carr’s ex-girlfriend during a brawl hours earlier.
Witnesses testified that the “big fight” involved a crowd of up to 30 people.
The defense argued that Anderson didn’t assault Carr’s ex-girlfriend, but tried to shield her from the brawl. Carr’s ex-girlfriend, Chelcie Cox, testified that the defendant put his hands on her and grabbed her around the throat. Carr’s best friend, Jade Greer, testified that Carr received a call about the alleged assault and decided to go to the ATV park to confront the defendant for putting his hands on a woman.
Because Anderson claimed self defense, the jury was charged with deciding whether they believe he was in imminent danger and that the use of reasonable force was necessary to prevent harm.
Prosecutors argued Anderson did not fear of his life. His defense attorney, Rick Berry, argued his client was in fear of his life and was being confronted by not only Carr, but a crowd.
Witnesses testified that Carr was the only one in close proximity when he confronted Anderson and that Carr had slapped him only one time when Anderson opened fire, killing him.
Assistant District Attorney Madison Hood told the jury that while Anderson told investigators he was scared for his life and couldn’t remember what happened in the shooting, he managed to be able to tell his account of events to experts retained to testify for the defense.
“Ms. Anderson (the defendant’s mother) says her son suffers from short-term memory. He couldn’t remember anything that night, but all of a sudden it’s self-defense?” Hood said. “That’s miraculous.”
Hood said instead of the photos that she presumed Berry would show of injuries Anderson sustained by Carr’s friend after the shooting, the photos that should be the focus are those of Carr lying lifeless at the scene.
“That’s what Mr. Anderson did because Mr. Carr slapped him,” Hood said as she showed the jurors pictures of Carr as the victim’s family wept silently in the courtroom gallery.