Third Brickhouse shooter receives 25-year sentence
By Kat Russell
The Paducah Sun
"You've got another chance. My brother doesn't."
That was the message Darryl Johnson had Thursday for Christopher Smith -- one of three men accused in the shooting death of his brother Gary Johnson.
"If it helps you rest easier at night, I forgive you," he said.
"I can't carry this anymore. And maybe while you're incarcerated, do some programs and come out as a role model and not just a negative influence in anybody's life."
Smith, 34, was the final defendant sentenced in the Brickhouse shooting that occurred in April 2016 and resulted in the death of 46-year-old Gary Johnson.
The cases against his co-defendants Denzell Powell and Tracell Nunn were resolved earlier this year.
Originally charged with charged with murder, attempted murder and convicted felon in possession of a handgun, Smith pleaded guilty in June to an amended charge of second-degree manslaughter, as well as the other two offenses.
Thursday he was sentenced to 10 years each for the manslaughter and attempted murder charges and five years for the handgun offense, each to run consecutively for a total of 25 years in prison. He will be eligible for parole after serving 20 percent -- or five years -- of his sentence.
"Nothing justifies a shootout at a nightclub," McCracken Circuit Judge Tim Kaltenbach told Smith.
"(Gary Johnson) is gone and nothing can bring him back. Nobody has that power, Mr. Smith. It's just so unnecessary and such a waste."
Smith, Powell and Nunn were charged after the three men began shooting at each other the night of April 16, 2016, outside the Brickhouse, a nightclub at Boyd and Ninth streets near Lower Town. Gary Johnson, a bystander, was caught in the crossfire and shot in the head, police said.
Powell, 24, was originally charged with murder and three counts each of first-degree wanton endangerment and first-degree criminal mischief in two separate cases. He pleaded guilty in April to an amended charge of second-degree manslaughter and the other six counts and was sentenced to 10 years.
Nunn was convicted in May on charges of murder, attempted murder and persistent felony offender He was sentenced to 20 years.
The attempted murder charges against Smith and Nunn stem from the two men shooting at Powell with the intent to kill him, according to the McCracken grand jury indictment.
On the night of the shooting, police said, the Brickhouse was packed with people both inside the club and in the parking lot.
During Nunn's trial, Powell testified that he and two friends arrived at the club sometime after midnight.
A little before 1 a.m., Powell said, Nunn and Smith ran up to his vehicle and opened fire. Powell said he returned fire, striking Johnson in the head.
All three men fled the scene, police said.
Paducah Police Detective Ryan Conn said he found Gary Johnson lying on his back in the parking lot with a gunshot wound to the head.
Johnson was rushed to Baptist Health Paducah, where he died.
Over the past year, Darryl Johnson has repeatedly talked to The Sun about the impact his brother's slaying has had on him and his family, describing the loss as a weight constantly bearing down on his shoulders.
Thursday, he said, he felt relief knowing the case was behind him and that he and his family could mourn his brother and try to move forward.