A man who admitted killing his wife in 2012 was sentenced to serve life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Johnny Quinn Campbell, 40, was sentenced for killing his wife, Jennifer Louise Campbell, on New Year’s Day, 2012, at their home in Byng. Campbell entered a blind-plea of guilty to first-degree murder July 25.
Law enforcement officers were called to the Campbells’ rural residence at 11:25 p.m. Jan. 1, 2012.
The couple’s teenage son heard gunshots, and when he entered the area of the home where the incident occurred, he was told by his father to get his younger sister and leave the house, according to Pontotoc County Sheriff John Christian. The son took his sister to nearby relatives’ house and called 911.
Upon entering the house, law enforcement officers discovered Jennifer Campbell lying dead on the kitchen floor. She had been shot in the chest with a .30-30 caliber bullet. Christian said Campbell fled the scene prior to emergency officials arrival.
An all-night manhunt ensued and Campbell was found the next morning hiding in the woods about 300 yards from the house.
Prior to sentencing, an attorney for Johnny Campbell, who sat in the courtroom shackled at the wrists and ankles, asked Judge Tom Landrith for leniency in sentencing. He said Campbell had no prior felonies and no history of violence. He said Campbell admitted he “snapped” when he shot his wife during an argument, saying “lots of emotions came to a head that night.” Campbell did not speak during sentencing.
His attorney said Campbell has expressed remorse saying “he is very sorry” for what he did and he made “the worst mistake of his life.”
He said Campbell pleaded guilty to spare family members the pain of a trial. The defense asked Landrith for a sentence of 45 years (life) with all but 22 and-a-half years suspended.
Assistant District Attorney Jim Tillison asked for life without parole, saying Johnny Campbell gave Jennifer Campbell a death sentence. He said the couple had had marital issues for nearly a year prior to the killing. Tillison said two months prior to committing the crime, Campbell told a friend he’d kill his wife before he divorced her.
Family and friends of Jennifer Campbell, who filled one half of the courtroom, sobbed as Landrith passed sentence. Tillison said the family of Jennifer Campbell were happy they did not have to testify.
“I think they were satisfied (with the sentence),” Tillison said. “They’re still dealing with a lot of pain. The tragedy of this kind of case is, no matter what we do in the courts, it’s not bringing Jennifer back. It’s a resolution that’s often empty.”