Jury continues to deliberate fate of Adrian Barker in Kent murder case

By Dave O'Brien | staff writer Published:

Jury deliberations in the case of the murder of a Kent State University student in November 2009 will enter their third day behind closed doors in Portage County Common Pleas Court today.

Jurors have been deliberating for approximately 10 hours, considering murder and felonious assault charges against Adrian A. Barker, 25, a former University of Akron student and Shaker Heights native.

The jury of nine women and three men began deliberating at 1 p.m. Tuesday. Deliberations continue at 8 a.m. today.

Barker was convicted of murder at his initial trial in 2010, but his conviction was overturned by an appeals court on a legal technicality, and he was granted a new trial.

The Portage County Prosecutor's Office alleges that Barker "sucker-punched" Christopher M. Kernich, 23, in the back of the head as Kernich prepared to fight Barker's friend Ronald G. Kelly, 23, in the middle of the 200 block of East Main Street in Kent on Nov. 15, 2009. The punch knocked Kernich unconscious, after which Barker and Kelly stomped and kicked Kernich in the head, prosecutors allege.

Suffering from major head trauma, Kernich died at Akron City Hospital on Nov. 21, 2009, having never regained consciousness.

Defense attorneys John Q. Lewis, Roger Synenberg and Jon Oebker alleged that the testimony of 20 eyewitnesses to the fight is unreliable. They have suggested that Kelly's roommate, Glenn P. Jefferson Jr., could have been mistaken for Barker that night and thrown the knockout punch.

Kelly, also a former University of Akron student and Shaker Heights native, is serving 15 years to life in prison for Kernich's murder, having been convicted in 2010.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1128 or dobrien@recordpub.com

Facebook: Dave O'Brien, Record-Courier

Twitter: @RCCrimeWatch

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