When Roderick W. Lloyd entered a plea in October accepting legal responsibility for his roommate’s death, he did so without admitting that he was guilty of a crime.
But the legal distinction of that Alford plea and Lloyd’s insistence on his innocence didn’t sway a Jackson County judge, who ordered Lloyd to prison Friday in the January 2010 death of James M. Elrod.
“I am convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that you did this,” Circuit Judge J. Dale Youngs told Lloyd, who had entered the plea to a charge of involuntary manslaughter.
He sentenced Lloyd, 49, of Kansas City, to five years in prison, although the judge said he expected that Lloyd probably would have to serve only a 120-day period of shock incarceration before probation.
Assistant Prosecutor Dawn Parsons requested the 120-day incarceration, and Youngs said he would recommend it as part of the sentence, denying the defense request for probation.
“I cannot allow somebody to walk out on probation after taking a life,” the judge said.
Friends of Lloyd, including an Excelsior Springs church pastor, vouched for his good character and testified that they were convinced of his innocence. No one appeared in court Friday on behalf of Elrod.
According to court records, the 58-year-old Elrod, who was known as Mike, suffered from blunt-force injuries and a knife wound to his shoulder. The men were roommates, and a witness told police that Lloyd was angry because they were being evicted, according to the court documents.
Lloyd initially was charged with second-degree murder. Defense attorney James Fletcher said Lloyd took the plea deal to avoid the possibility of a 30-year prison sentence if convicted at trial.