Man accused of killing KSU student goes back to trial



A murder retrial of Adrian Barker, former University of Akron student and one of the men accused of murdering Kent State student Christopher Kernich during an altercation on East Main Street in 2009, began in the Portage County Common Pleas Court Tuesday.

Ronald Kelly, former student at the University of Akron, and Glenn Jefferson Jr. of Mentor also were involved in the attack.

Barker was found guilty of murder and felonious assault in 2010, but Barker’s conviction was overturned in 2012 because of the “trail court’s failure to instruct the jury” on lesser fences including assault, involuntary manslaughter and reckless homicide, according to a criminal appeal by the Ohio 11th District Court of Appeals. His tampering with evidence charge still stands and carries a five-year prison sentence. His trial began this week with jury selection and opening arguments, and will resume Sept. 6 a 8:30 a.m.

After Kernich’s murder, Kent police say they had to take another look at ways to keep students safe downtown.

Lieutenant Jim Prusha, with the Kent Police, gave three tips for students to stay out of trouble.” Don’t get too drunk, be aware of your surrounding, and walk away from trouble and/or call the police,” he said.

Although he wasn’t involved with the original murder case or the retrial of Adrian Barker, who was convinced in 2010 of murder, Prusha said officers continue to do their best to prevent similar offenses.

“We have always tried to keep our patrol heavy in the downtown area during busy bar nights,” he said “….[But], as much as officers try, we won’t get able to catch every incident.”

When the assault and death of Kernich took place, it reinforced the need for officers to focus on the areas where “many people and alcohol get together,” Prusha said.

Officers will continue to keep heavy patrols of downtown, especially of weekends, and make students aware of their presence to avoid problems and ensure they will be close by if an incident does occur.

Contact Caitlyn Callahan at [email protected] and Cassie Neiden at [email protected].