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Hunt convicted on murder charge

It took less than 90 minutes Wednesday for a St. Joseph County jury to convict 41-year-old Theron Hunt, of Dowagiac, of first-degree felony murder.

The jury also found Hunt guilty of two counts of armed robbery, one count of unlawful imprisonment, one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of felony firearm.

Hunt was on trial for the fatal shooting of Kevin Johnson in November 2018 in Flowerfield Township.

The five days of testimony spread over two weeks exposed the subculture of methamphetamine addiction among the three co-defendants, Hunt, former girlfriend Kayla Cheney, 24, and friend Tyler McNeil, 20, who planned to sell fake drugs to Johnson, a truck driver from Kentucky. Instead, Johnson ended up dead, accidentally shot by Cheney with a shotgun during the robbery.

All three had been awake for seven or eight days, using meth, Cheney testified.

She previously pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the case and is serving 25 to 75 years in prison.

McNeil, owner of the murder weapon who loaded it and brought it to the scene of the crime in a borrowed car, pleaded guilty to armed robbery. He is expected to receive a 12-year sentence later this month.

Hunt is scheduled for sentencing Feb. 12 by Circuit Judge Paul Stutesman.

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