A Bethany, Mo., man received a life sentence Friday for the 2012 murder of his 7-year-old son.
Tony King was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole Friday for the murder of Jeremiah Lamm. Mr. King also received sentences of 15 years for arson and 15 years for felony child abuse, with the terms to run consecutively to his life sentence.
Mr. King was charged with killing his son and then burning a mobile home to the ground with the boy’s body inside on Jan. 11, 2012. The crime occurred in Harrison County but the trial was moved to Buchanan County.
Although he did not testify during his trial earlier this spring, Mr. King spoke on his own behalf prior to receiving his sentence from Buchanan County Judge Randall Jackson. Mr. King maintained his innocence and discussed the loss of his son.
“It is a tragedy that he’s gone and I hurt just as bad as everyone else does,” Mr. King said.
Jeremiah’s mother, Mira Huffman, appeared in striped prison garb to read a statement and poem she wrote about losing Jeremiah. Ms. Huffman is currently serving a sentence for drug charges. She talked about her son’s ability to cheer up everyone around him and mentioned how one of his favorite parts of school was talking to the D.A.R.E. officer, Rick Dierenfedlt.
“He used to come home and say ‘Mom, when I get big I’m going to change the world,’” Ms. Huffman said.
Rebecca Weddle, a crime victims advocate for the Missouri Attorney General’s office, read a letter from Jeremiah’s aunt and uncle, Anita and Steve Lawrence. The letter talked about the things their nephew enjoyed, such as riding four-wheelers.
“(Mr. King) took a loving, caring, little boy from us and there will never be justice in our hearts,” the letter said.
Mr. King’s sister, Nicole Peery, did not have time to prepare remarks as she did not know she would have a chance to speak on her brother’s behalf. She fought through tears to give a heartfelt speech that showed the emotion felt by someone who lost a nephew to murder and a brother to prison. Mr. King began to cry as his sister spoke.
“I know that my brother loves his children, loved Jeremiah and fought for Jeremiah,” Ms. Peery said. “... In my heart I know he’s innocent. I’m 150 thousand percent behind him.”
Mr. King was found guilty of all three charges May 2 in Buchanan County Circuit Court. The jury reached its verdict after nearly three hours of deliberation.
Mr. King’s attorney, Kelly Miller, filed a motion for a new trial prior to Friday’s sentencing on grounds that the prosecution failed to provide copies of two written statements and one of two allegedly recorded interviews from witnesses that testified during the trial. Harrison County Prosecutor Johnathan Meyer said the prosecution was unaware of the written statements until after the trial, when they were discovered in the files of George Martz, the now deceased former Harrison County sheriff. In reference to the allegedly missing recorded interview, he said only one interview was recorded and that was turned over to the defense. Mr. Jackson overruled Mr. Miller’s motion.
Mr. King will appear again in court July 23 in the case of the death of Michael Bozarth, 25. Mr. King was charged last month with second-degree murder for allegedly strangling Mr. Bozarth to death late June 10 or early June 11 in the cell they shared in the Buchanan County jail.
Several of Mr. Bozarth’s family members attended Mr. King’s sentencing.