An almost two-year-old murder case came to an end on Wednesday. Randy H. Durham appeared before Circuit Court Judge Don Ash for what was supposed to be the first day of a three-day-long jury trial. But instead, Assistant District Attorney David Puckett and Durham's attorney, Guy Dotson, Sr., announced the case had been resolved.
Puckett told the Court that, in exchange for Durham's guilty plea to the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter, he would be sentenced to four years in prison as a Range 1, 30 percent offender. Puckett then said Durham's sentence would be suspended after he served 1 year in the Cannon County Jail with the rest of the sentence being served on State Supervised Probation.
Prior to accepting Durham's plea, Judge Ash heard from the victim, Ronnie Baxter's, family. Several relatives expressed their displeasure with the plea agreement, stating that they did not feel it was enough jail time. However, some family members shared their desire for closure and an end to the case. Judge Ash then reluctantly accepted Durham's plea.
In his statement of facts, Puckett told the Court that the entire incident was over a $450.00 headlight. Puckett said Durham and Baxter's children got into an altercation at Sonic in front of a large group of their classmates over an accident which had happened earlier in the day on November 14, 2008.
After the group was asked to leave Sonic by management, they all met at a home on Hollow Springs Road to fight. Randy Durham and Ronnie Baxter both went to the location with their children. The parents then got into a fight after which Baxter got up and began to walk across the street. Durham then fired at Baxter and two bullets hit him in the side and back. He later died as a result of his injuries.
Ash then sentenced Durham as announced. He had requested that he be given until August to report to jail, but Ash refused and ordered him into custody immediately. Durham is now serving his year at the Cannon County Jail.
Durham To Serve One Year In County Jail For Baxter Murder
July 7, 2010
July 07, 2010 at 12:26pm
i dont think a year is long enough sorry really you kill someone and only get a year in jail.... wow cant believe this.
July 07, 2010 at 1:31pm
Cannon County is not a good place to get murdered if you expect any kind of justice. Shoot a man in the back in front of 20 witnesses and get a year in the County Jail?
July 07, 2010 at 2:43pm
What has our world come to? Durham already got a slap on the wrist for violent crimes he committed a few years ago. Now this? How can a prosecutor feel good and sleep at night with this deal? He could've pused the trail and easily gotten a conviction. I'm ashamed I lived here sometimes.
July 07, 2010 at 11:19pm
One flippin year in our county jail for willfully taking a person's life...I just don't understand! Is it crazy for me to be afraid for my family? I don't think so. This sentence (if you can call it that) is a bright, flashing sign for violent criminals to take their chances in Cannon County! What's the worst that could happen if one is found guilty of a heinous crime? Well, not much, apparently. I agree that it's a sad day here.
July 08, 2010 at 4:24am
hey guys.... u got cookers of meth that kills more children than one. and all they do is pat them on the hand and trun them loose too cook more poo, poo, now wich one is the worst? sound like this county needs to be proud to live in again... want mames... look at what they posted .... loose licenes for a year... when they never had one? your right .... it is a shame to live in this county.... felony offenders walk the streets more than real people.... open your eyes... hope this get posted.
July 08, 2010 at 2:04pm
This is truly sad and concerns me greatly.
July 08, 2010 at 2:52pm
Good defense lawyer or poor District Attorney??
July 13, 2010 at 9:37am
Our legal system has gone to crap,when you can serve more time for stealing a piece of chewing gum than killing a man.Everyone one involed in this case should not be able to ever practice law again.