A convicted killer, released on bond this month over protests from Jackson County prosecutors that he was a dangerous flight risk, was sentenced Wednesday to 25 years in prison for second-degree murder and 10 years for armed criminal action.
Larry Clay, 55, of Kansas City, was convicted Jan. 23 and was immediately taken into custody at his sentencing hearing. The sentence — both terms will run concurrently — and conviction stem from the killing in March 2013 of Joel Matthew White at Clay’s home.
Circuit Judge Kathleen A. Forsyth delivered the sentence and said Clay expressed remorse for the shooting for the first time Wednesday. She noted three prior incidents that involved firearms.
“My primary concern is the history of violence that Mr. Clay has demonstrated,” Forsyth said before pronouncing the sentence, “and all could have ended up in situations like we have here with the death of someone.”
Earlier this month, prosecutor Jean Peters Baker argued that Clay belonged in custody after the jury’s verdict. On Wednesday, Clay offered his condolences to the victim’s family.
“I’m sorry that it happened,” Clay testified. “This wasn’t what I wanted.”
White, 44, died March 4, 2013, while sprawled on Clay’s driveway in south Kansas City. An argument had erupted earlier inside Clay’s home, where White, Clay and several others had been socializing. After the dispute moved outside, Clay shot White, witnesses told police. Clay was the aggressor, witnesses said.
Clay told police that he fired when White lunged toward him. A video of the incident contradicted that, according to court records.
Before trial, Clay was free on bond while being supervised by the county’s electronic monitoring house arrest program. His attorney said Clay had no problems while on house arrest.
After the guilty verdict, Forsyth allowed Clay to post 10 percent of a $225,000 bond and participate in the county’s house arrest program.
Clay posted the bond Jan. 29, but the house arrest program rejected him because it does not accept defendants convicted of “murder or certain sex offenses,” court records said.
Clay’s lawyer later suggested having him pay a private firm, Electronic Sentencing Alternatives of Blue Springs, to monitor him on house arrest. Under those guidelines, Clay had to remain in his residence except for medical emergencies or court appearances.
Constance White, the victim’s older sister, said the prison sentence was appropriate.
“I feel good about it and he got something. I am satisified, very much so.”