Murder Conviction Overturned in KSU Student’s Death

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A murder conviction has been overturned in the stomping death of a 23-year-old business student from Kent State University.

A state appeals court has ruled that Adrian Barker of Shaker Heights should be given a new trial because the court “did not apply the proper legal standard for determining whether lesser included offense instructions were required.”

The appeals court said the court was required to “instruct the jury on assault, involuntary manslaughter, and reckless homicide…”

Barker, who was 21 at the time of the murder, maintained he was falsely accused in the death of Christopher Kernich.

A jury found Barker guilty of felony murder, murder and felonious assault and tampering with evidence.

A single conviction of tampering with evidence will stand.

Barker’s co-defendant, Ronald Kelly of Akron, who was 20 at the time of the crime, was also found guilty of felony murder, felonious assault and assault.

His appeal was denied.

Court records indicate Barker, Kelly, and another friend, Glenn Jefferson, were leaving a fraternity party on the Kent campus during the early morning hours of Nov. 15, 2009.

While driving off in Jefferson’s car, Jefferson nearly hit a member of a group of pedestrians that included Kernich.

When the student who was nearly hit yelled something rude, Kelly told Jefferson to pull over.

Witnesses testified seeing Kelly and Barker stomping Kernich after he’d been knocked unconscious.

Kernich was removed from life support a few days later.