(Delmarvanow.com) -- A man previously convicted of manslaughter was found not guilty of possessing a firearm in a Sept. 27 trial in Accomack County.
Kendrick Duffy, 26, of Parksley, pleaded guilty to felony eluding and reckless driving but denied the gun found in the car he was driving was his.
Duffy was arrested in 2009 and charged with murder in the shooting death of Bobby O’Neill Ballard, a third-year college student who was not the intended victim in a late-night shootout at the Parksley Royal Farms.
The charge was reduced to voluntary manslaughter in a plea agreement with then Commonwealth’s Attorney Gary Agar. In 2010, Duffy was sentenced to five years and eight months in the penitentiary for the crime.
Prosecutors said Duffy was speeding on Route 13 in June when he first caught the attention of a sheriff's deputy. A pursuit ensued reaching speeds of up to 114 mph before he turned into Hallwood and crashed into several cars and a house there.
Duffy exited the damaged car and ran into the woods where he was captured. While examining the vehicle, the officer saw the barrel of a gun in the open glovebox. A 9mm pistol was retrieved.
Duffy was also charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He said in court that the car was not his and that he did not know the gun was there. He said he ran from police because he was smoking marijuana while he was driving.
Duffy refused to submit to a request for his DNA but police got it with a search warrant. The gun was sent to the lab.
A report showed here were no fingerprints and no usable DNA on the weapon, said Commonwealth’s Attorney Spencer Morgan. On the witness stand, Accomack County Sheriff's Deputy Eric Nottingham said he had seen Duffy driving that same car on at least two other occasions in the past year. Defense attorney read the details of a similar case then made a motion to strike the commonwealth’s evidence.
“There was no evidence the was aware of its presence,” Defense attorney Thomas Northam told the court. “There was no DNA and no fingerprints and no active possession of the firearm."
Morgan did not see it that way, though.
“He fled, he tried to disavow himself from the vehicle, he did not want to submit to DNA,” argued Morgan.
Hearing from both, Judge W. Revell Lewis, III granted Northam’s motion to strike.
“The vehicle was not owned by the defendant,” he said, dismissing the charge.