When David Bledsoe was shot to death in a robbery last year at his Kansas City business, the neighborhood lost a steadfast friend.
Whether it was repairing and giving bicycles to children or volunteering to clear weed-choked lots, Bledsoe could be counted on to lend a hand in an area that needed all the help it could get.
On Monday in Jackson County Circuit Court, one of the men convicted in Bledsoe’s death was sentenced to 25 years in prison for what the judge called an “obviously senseless killing.”
Anthony C. Britton, now 20, was found guilty earlier this year of second-degree murder, first-degree robbery and armed criminal action in the May 2011 killing at Bledsoe’s Rental at 50th Street and Prospect Avenue.
A second defendant, Andre M. Broadus, was convicted by a jury last week and is scheduled to be sentenced next month.
Britton’s grandfather, George Britton, who drove the getaway car, is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday.
Bledsoe’s father in 1945 started Bledsoe’s Rental, a neighborhood fixture for decades, family members said Monday.
David Bledsoe’s death not only damaged the business, but the community also suffered, said Assistant Prosecutor Michael Hunt, who asked that Britton be sentenced to life in prison.
“He was a hardworking person who lived for that community,” Hunt said of Bledsoe. “This crime cries out” for life in prison, he said.
Defense attorney David Rowan asked for a sentence of 10 to 15 years. He said Britton had no prior criminal record and was recruited into the scheme. He said Britton’s grandfather supplied the intelligence and gave his grandson a gun.
Rowan also suggested that the gun Britton used may have discharged accidentally.
Circuit Judge Peggy Stevens McGraw imposed sentences of 25, 15 and 10 years for Britton’s convictions and ordered them to run concurrently. He will be eligible for parole after serving 85 percent of the 25-year term.
Afterward, Bledsoe’s sister, Terri Fike, said she felt more sorrow about her brother’s death than anger toward his killers. She said that someday she might forgive them.
“It’s going to take a long time,” she said. “I’m not there yet.”