Judge sentences Kendu Petties to life in prison for 2014 killings

Petties apologizes to victims' families, but says he didn't do it

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CEDAR RAPIDS — Roger Alexander said he never thought he would have to know what it was like to lose a child, but that changed when his 20-year-old daughter Sierrah Simmons was killed in a “senseless” shooting.

“Her mother and I will never see her again,” Alexander wrote in a victim’s impact statement read by a Horizons Survivors’ advocate during sentencing Friday morning for Kendu Petties. “I’m glad he was found guilty. He should spend the rest of his life behind bars.”

Petties, 33, was convicted in March for killing Simmons and her friend, Quintrell Perkins, 22, on April 2, 2014. Sixth Judicial District Senior Judge Robert Sosalla sentenced to two life sentences without the possibility of parole for two counts of first-degree murder and to 10 years for conspiracy to commit a forcible felony. Sosalla ran all the terms concurrently.

Petties also was ordered to pay $150,000 to each victim’s estate for restitution, which is required by law.   

Evidence at trial showed Petties fired 11 shots from a .40 caliber Glock into the home of Perkins’ father at 1708 Fourth Ave. SE. Simmons and Perkins were not the intended targets that night. Witnesses testified Petties thought he was shooting at two other men who he had fought in a previous altercation and were known to hang out at that residence.

One of the bullets hit Simmons in the neck and head area as she was sitting on a sofa in the living room, testimony showed. Perkins, who was seated across from her, was hit once in the chest. There were two other adults, also on the sofa, next to the victims, and two children in the home but they were not harmed.

During sentencing, Petties apologized more than once to the parents of Simmons and Perkins, who all were in the courtroom, but he denied being the shooter. He said he wanted to “clear up a few things” because there were “gaps and holes” in the case.

Petties claimed he never had a “fight, shootout or altercation” with the two men who were his intended targets. He said the video provided by Devonte Barnes, who testified against him, did not contain accurate information. Petties said he doesn’t know why he admitted to the shooting in the video because it’s not true.

“My mom, who passed, use to say, ‘You talk too much, you lie too much and one day it will come back on you,’ ” Petties said. “I would tell her she was right.”

Petties said he “fabricated” the story about being involved in the shooting during the video recording that Barnes made and Barnes “egged him on.” He then denied again being there that night or being the shooter.

“I know you probably hate me but I didn’t murder your son and daughter,” Petties said looking into the gallery at the victims’ parents.             

Sara Smith, Petties lawyer, asked the court for a new trial, citing insufficient evidence, but Sosalla denied the motion, saying there was sufficient evidence for conviction on all charges.

l Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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