Jonathon Kyle Elliott, who in January was found guilty in the 2017 shooting death of 43-year-old Robert Ward, was sentenced to six years in prison on Friday.
Elliott's sentencing was delayed for several months due to the ongoing COIVD-19 pandemic, which shut down in-person court proceedings in the spring, but on Friday, Judge Michael Binkley handed down the sentence.
According to Assistant District Attorney Carlin Hess, who prosecuted the case, Elliott has served about three and a half years in jail, which will be credited to his sentence. Elliott will be eligible for parole after 75% of that six-year sentence is served.
“This was a heartbreaking case for many reasons," Hess said in an email. "This case was about more than just a tragic and senseless act that resulted in the death of an innocent man. Even though the case has concluded, the events of January 1, 2017, have had life-altering consequences for two families, the Wards and the Elliotts, that will continue long beyond today.
"While I know that the outcome of the sentencing hearing was not what the Ward family envisioned or had hoped for, I do hope that it helps bring some closure so that they can begin to heal.”
As previously reported, in January, Elliott was found guilty of reckless homicide, aggravated assault resulting in death, aggravated assault and reckless endangerment discharging a firearm into an occupied habitation, and found not guilty of second-degree murder after a four-day trial.
Elliott was arrested for the 2017 New Year’s Day homicide in Nolensville, and was initially charged with felony first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, aggravated assault resulting in death, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony.
During the trial the charge of first-degree murder was reduced to second-degree murder with lesser charges after an agreement between the prosecution and defense.
The shooting stemmed from a dispute between Elliott, Miles Richardson Holt, of Franklin, and Ward's older son over cannabis and a broken car window.
That dispute led to 25 bullets fired from an AK-47 in a vehicle into the home. Ward was shot in the head and died in his living room.
Nolensville Police responded to the home at 9849 Sam Donald Road after the then 10-year-old son of the victim called 911 to report that Ward had been shot inside their home.