By Linda Cicoira
After being beaten in front of a group of Northampton residents who were partying outside an apartment building in Aug. 2021, a Marionville man left the scene and returned with a gun.
The incident ended with five shots being fired. A few went into the air. One went into his rival’s foot. And another went through a wall in a unit where children lived. No one there was injured.
Forty-seven-year-old Christopher Randall James was sentenced to a total of 10 years in prison this week in Northampton Circuit Court for unlawfully wounding Kevin Lyons, shooting at an occupied dwelling, and being a felon with a firearm.
All but two years and six months of the terms were suspended. James will be on supervised probation for three years and on good behavior for 10 years.
“Gun violence is rampant,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Jack Thornton. “A statement needs to be made that gun violence will not be tolerated … not only did he come back, but he brought a gun,” Thornton added. “When somebody brings a gun out the whole thing changes.”
A character witness for James was his neighbor, Sgt. Glenn Bailey of Northampton County Sheriff’s Office. He said James “has a good heart,” is friendly, and helps neighbors and his family. But he admitted James is a “functional drinker” and has used cocaine.
“I don’t think James’ long-standing alcohol use had anything to do with it,” said Defense lawyer Andre D. Wiggins. “The problem was he left after being dragged out of his car … was beaten on and bloodied … Mr. James is an otherwise happy jovial fellow who doesn’t ask for much. He enjoys his family and neighbors. Here he retaliated. That’s the problem … He took a beating by a much younger, more aggressive individual in front of a group. He’s the one whose head was split open … To regain his dignity … a very simple man made a terrible decision.”
According to statements, “the situation got heated after an insult was hurled at Lyons and James took delight in it … Lyons became irate and things got heated.”