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Mother finds a measure of justice at sentencing of son's killer

Of the three men involved in a confrontation a year ago on a West Side street corner, two are now dead and the third is going to prison for 21 years.

Russell M. Adams, 20, was sentenced Tuesday morning on his plea of guilty to manslaughter for the fatal shooting of Myron Kemp, 29, on Aug. 31, 2016.

It’s not clear if Adams even knew his victim. Prosecutors previously said that Kemp was on the corner of Grant and Breckenridge that night to confront a drug dealer, Eric Jones. Those two got into a fight and Jones allegedly called Adams as “back-up.” Adams arrived and Kemp was shot and killed.

Jones was shot to death 11 days later while sitting in a car just a couple of blocks from where he argued with Kemp. No arrest has been made in his killing.

Tuesday morning, Kemp’s mother, Katrina Kemp, stood in State Supreme Court to ask for justice for her son and also to thank those who helped achieve it.

“I didn’t expect anyone would be arrested for my son’s death,” she said. “But the homicide detectives told me this wouldn’t be a cold case, and I thank them.”

The sentencing was a quiet conclusion to a hard period for Katrina Kemp. As she told Justice Russell P. Buscaglia, she lost all three of her sons within eight months in 2016 — Michael to a drug overdose in January; Marlin, who became ill in prison in June, and then Myron.

“This one hits harder,” Katrina Kemp said, “because my son was stolen from me by cowards.”

She drew in a breath. “My mother taught me not to use the word hate, but I hate this young man,” she said, glancing at Adams.

She pointed out that her son left behind his own five children plus the children of his brother, whom he had promised to care for.

“My son should be here, he should be taking his kids to school for the first day of school,” she said.

Buscaglia kept his remarks before sentencing brief, choosing to simply reinforce Katrina Kemp's words.

He told Adams, “I believe that you are now aware, if you weren’t aware before, that your actions affected not one person but an entire family.”

Buscaglia previously committed to a sentencing range of between 15 and 22 years when he accepted Adams’ plea to manslaughter in the first degree. He said Tuesday that he would give a small consideration to the fact that Adams had a minimal criminal record and was 19 years old when Kemp was killed. The sentence of 21 years in prison is to be followed by five years' post-release supervision.

Despite being advised by court security to remain silent, members of Kemp’s family couldn't resist calling out their thanks to the judge as they left the courtroom. Outside of court they shook hands with and embraced prosecutor John P. Feroleto, who handled the case for the District Attorney’s Office.

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