LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Two men headed to court Wednesday morning to learn their punishment in a deadly shooting case.
Joseph Richardson and Kenneth Wadkins admitted to killing Rocardo Cole in Lexington in 2010. In exchange, prosecutors recommended five years in prison. Before the sentencing, the victim's family presented the jduge with a petition disagreeing with the deal.
Wadkins and Richardson both admitted to their role in Cole's death, outside of the Camelot West Men's Club. His family says he was shot in the ankle and back.
Richardson pleaded guilty to reckless homicide. Wadkins pleaded guilty to criminal facilitation to manslaughter. Judge James Ishmael accepted the pleas and the prosecutions recommendations of five years for each of the men.
Cole's family worked to get those sentences changed. They started an online petition that gathered more than 450 signatures. Judge Ishmael said he read letters from Cole's family, but because of the evidence in the case, the prosecution's recommendation would stand.
After the hearing, Cole's aunt said one of the other people involved wasn't even charged, and her family would never be able to heal with the sentence that was carried out.
"There's no way you can heal when you know that probably in a few months you're going to face the shooter and currently will walk around with the others daily, how do you heal from that when you don't receive the justice you deserve?" Chaka Travers, Cole's aunt, said Wednesday.
Wadkins apologized to Cole's family for his part in the crime. Richardson, who the judge said admitted to pulling the trigger, remained silent.
Because he was on parole for another crime, Wadkins will serve the five years for Cole's death, then another 18.