A 29-year-old Kansas City man was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison for a 2015 fatal shooting outside of an Overland Park nightclub.
A Johnson County jury in April found James Willis guilty of first-degree murder in the killing of 24-year-old Jurl Carter of Olathe. He will have no chance of parole for 50 years.
Carter, the father of three children, including a son born after he was killed, was a rapper who performed under the name “Bo Boogy.”
Willis’ brother, Dale Willis, 34, also a rapper known as Poppa Willo and owner of a Kansas City record company, was previously convicted by another jury and also sentenced to life in prison.
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Carter was killed in September 2015 outside Jim Kilroy’s Roxy Bar at 75th Street and Metcalf Avenue after he was involved in an altercation with Dale Willis.
According to witnesses, a photographer was taking pictures at the club and Carter and Willis exchanged words over whose picture should be taken, before Dale Willis punched Carter and knocked him to the ground.
Carter then got in his car and was backing up through the parking lot when he was shot multiple times with a .45-caliber handgun.
Prosecutors argued that Dale Willis instructed his brother to shoot Carter.
“This was simply an execution,” Assistant District Attorney Vanessa Riebli said Wednesday.
She told the judge Wednesday that jail officials found a letter in James Willis’ cell in which he was trying to get someone to kill a witness in the case.
James Willis testified at his trial that he shot Carter in self-defense. He told jurors that he only fired after he heard a bullet fly past his head.
But prosecutors pointed out to jurors that James Willis was the only witness to say that Carter might have had a gun, and no other witnesses heard any shots before James Willis fired shots.
No gun was found in Carter’s car after he was killed.
On Wednesday, before he was sentenced, James Willis once again said he acted in self-defense.
“I was afraid for my life,” he said.
He asked Carter’s family members and friends to forgive him.
“I apologize that my actions led to this,” he said.