Keytesville woman sentenced to 15 years in prison for second-degree murder

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A Keytesville woman charged in Chariton County with second-degree murder was sentenced in court on February 8.

Fifty-three-year-old Sherri Laws was sentenced to 15 years in the Division of Adult Institutions for the murder charge. Additionally, she received a five-year sentence for armed criminal action, to be served consecutively to the murder charge sentence. Laws was also sentenced to 10 years for delivery of a controlled substance, four years for unlawful use of a weapon, and 10 years for conspiracy to commit a felony. The sentences for delivery of a controlled substance, unlawful use of a weapon, and conspiracy to commit a felony will run concurrently with each other but consecutively to the sentences for murder and armed criminal action. All charges were felonies, and the sentences were ordered to be executed immediately.

Laws entered a guilty plea in December.

She and 51-year-old James Michael Johnson Senior were charged in relation to a shooting in Keytesville in January 2023.

Johnson faces charges of second-degree murder, unlawful possession of a firearm, delivery of a controlled substance, and conspiracy to commit a felony. His three-day jury trial is scheduled to start on October 16, with a pretrial conference set for September 6.

The Missouri Highway Patrol reported that the charges stemmed from an incident in which 38-year-old Jacob Abney of Grandview suffered gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene. Johnson also received gunshot wounds, was taken to Moberly Regional Medical Center, and later flown to University Hospital in Columbia.

The investigation began after Chariton County deputies were dispatched to a Keytesville residence following a report of an altercation.


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