SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — One of the men charged with second-degree murder in a May 2021 shooting death is now scheduled to go to trial.

A jury trial for Justin Murphy is scheduled for January 16, 2023. His next court appearance is scheduled to happen just days before that, on January 12, 2023.

Murphy is charged in the death of James Kenney. Court documents state Murphy and the other man charged, John Hilt, were members of the Family Values Gang while Kenney was a member of the Southwest Honkies Gang. According to the probable cause statement from the Springfield Police Department, several anonymous sources suggested Justin Murphy and John Hilt were responsible for Kenney’s death.

Murphy was arrested two days after Kenney’s death after police followed him from Springfield to Christian County. That encounter resulted in a chase that ended in a crash, which injured Murphy’s girlfriend, who was riding with him.

Police say Murphy denied being involved in Kenney’s death. Court documents show Murphy’s girlfriend told investigators Murphy and Hilt agreed to go to Kenney’s house and assault him. She remembered Hilt pulled out a handgun and said he was going to “pistol whip” Kenney. Court documents also say Murphy’s girlfriend told investigators Murphy and Hilt left, and she said Murphy returned 30 minutes later and said Hilt fired shots at Kenney.

John HIlt mugshot
John HIlt

John Hilt, who is also charged with second-degree murder in Kenney’s death, was arrested at a Springfield convenience store after officers say he fired his weapon at police.