Springfield man convicted of lesser crime after law change
By Daniel Fredman
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) -- A Springfield man who withdrew his guilty plea to second-degree murder after state gun laws were changed has been convicted of a lesser crime in his girlfriend's death.
Darrell Smith was convicted Thursday of second-degree involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action for shooting his girlfriend, Kimberly Walker, in the head in December 2012.
Smith had pleaded guilty to second-degree murder this summer but withdrew his plea after Missouri voters in August approved an amendment that allows nonviolent felons to possess guns.
The Springfield News-Leader reports the sentencing difference is significant. Smith could have faced 30 years on the murder charge. The maximum sentence for manslaughter is seven years, although Smith could get more prison time for the armed criminal action conviction.