Springfield man sentenced to 27 years for 2021 gang-related homicide

·2 min read
Police say John Hilt engaged in a shootout with officers outside of a Kum & Go on East Kearney Street in 2021.
Police say John Hilt engaged in a shootout with officers outside of a Kum & Go on East Kearney Street in 2021.

A Springfield man was sentenced Friday to 27 years in prison after pleading guilty to a variety of charges related to the 2021 killing of James Kenney.

John Hilt, 37 of Springfield, who was arrested in May of 2021 following a shootout with police outside of a Kum & Go, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping, first-degree robbery, assault and other charges.

According to court documents, in May of 2021, Hilt and Justin Murphy, 33 of Springfield, went to a trailer in the 3200 block of Page Street with the intention of assaulting Kenney, who they suspected of stealing drugs and threatening Murphy's family.

However, once there, court documents say Hilt shot Kenney multiple times.

Kenney was a member of the Southwest Honkies, a white supremacist gang, while Hilt and Murphy were members of a rival white supremacist gang, named Family Values, according to court documents.

More: 2 charged in Springfield homicide, including man allegedly involved in police shootout

Hilt and Murphy were quickly identified as suspects, but when officers went to arrest Hilt he reportedly opened fire at police at a Kum & Go on East Kearney Street, stole a car, and then hid out in a man's motel room nearby for 12 hours.

Hilt and a bystander suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the shootout.

During his sentencing, Hilt received 20 years for second-degree murder, 10 years for each count of unlawful possession of a firearm, 27 years for each count of first-degree assault, 15 years for each out of unlawful use of a weapon, 27 years for kidnapping and 27 years for robbery.

Each of the sentences will run concurrent to each other, meaning Hilt will serve a maximum of 27 years and he will get credit for time served in jail while his case moved through the legal system. His lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Hilt entered an Alford plea on Friday, meaning he did not admit to the charges but acknowledged the prosecution had enough evidence to convict him.

Murphy is charged with second-degree murder and armed criminal action. He is scheduled to be back in court later this month.

Jordan Meier covers public safety for the Springfield News-Leader. Contact her at jmeier@news-leader.com, or on Twitter @Jordan_Meier644.

This article originally appeared on Springfield News-Leader: Springfield man sentenced for homicide, shootout with police