Appeals court reverses murder conviction in Kernich case

Britni Williams

The eleventh district court of appeals has reversed the murder conviction of Adrian Barker in the 2009 death of Kent State student Christopher Kernich.

The case against Barker will go back to the Portage County Court of Common Pleas. A trial date has not been set.

Barker was originally convicted of one count of felony murder, one count of murder, one count of felonious assault and one count of tampering with evidence in the death of Kernich. The appeal confirmed the conviction for tampering with evidence, but the other charges have been reversed.

“The court affirmed the conviction of Ronald Kelley and partially reversed the decision against Adrian Barker,” Portage County Prosecutor Victor Vigluicci said. “We are reviewing that decision now and are most probably going to file a further appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court on that after we finish analyzing the opinion.”

According to the court document, the appeals court ruled that the jury in the original trial was not properly instructed to consider lesser offenses. Lesser offenses could include assault, involuntary manslaughter and reckless homicide.

Due to the error in court procedures, the appeals court decided to reverse the convictions for felonious assault, felony murder, and murder.

Vigluicci said Barker’s conviction of tampering with evidence, a third degree felony, still stands and carries a five-year prison sentence.

“He will stay in prison, at least on that, until we finalize the appeal on the underlying murder case,” Vigluicci said.

Barker’s defense attorney, Daniel Warren, could not be reached for comment by press time Monday evening.

Contact Britni Williams at [email protected].