By JB Clark/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – A Baldwyn man on Wednesday pleaded guilty to manslaughter for the 2011 shooting death of Bradley Triplett.
Darwin Penrose, 25, admitted to shooting Triplett in the heat of passion in the doorway of I-Con nightclub early New Year’s morning 2011.
Circuit Court Judge James Pound sentenced Penrose to 20 years in Mississippi Department of Corrections Custody with an additional five years for committing a felony with a firearm.
He was sentenced to another 10 years for shooting into an occupied dwelling, for a total of 35 years.
Penrose initially was charged with murder but the charges were reduced to manslaughter in the heat of passion so Penrose would enter a guilty plea.
If the murder charge hadn’t been reduced, Penrose could have appealed any jury decision and the jury would have been able to find him guilty of murder, guilty of manslaughter or innocent.
District Attorney Trent Kelly said Triplett’s family did not desire any restitution payment.
“With a 35-year sentence, we thought it was fair and served justice,” Kelly said. “We spoke with the victim’s family and they thought it was fair. This way the victims don’t have to sit through a trial and hear all the painful evidence.”
Kelly also said the plea deal took away Penrose’s right of appeal, guaranteeing a conviction.
“It was two young lives,” Kelly said. “This kid is 25, he should serve at least 85 percent of that and will be a middle-aged man when he gets out of jail.”
After entering his guilty plea, Penrose admitted his words couldn’t change anything but still addressed Triplett’s weeping family.
“I apologize to the Triplett family,” he said. “I stand here today to accept my responsibility. The early morning hours of Jan. 1 have changed my whole life.”