COEUR d’ALENE — A stammering Shaun P. Kelly apologized to the family of Evan Larkin Thursday, telling them he provided the drugs that caused his friend’s deadly overdose two years ago in Post Falls.
Kelly, whose charges were reduced in June to drug delivery from second-degree murder for his role in Larkin’s death, took no further responsibility, discounting testimony that he had forced Larkin to ingest two grams of methamphetamine.
“I never pointed a gun at him,” Kelly said at his sentencing Thursday in First District Court. “I did provide him with the (drugs) he requested that ultimately were the cause of his death.”
District Judge Cynthia K.C. Meyer wasn’t persuaded and sentenced Kelly to 35 years to life behind bars for a series of charges including drug delivery, being a felon in possession of a firearm and eluding police.
Calling the case “shocking and highly disturbing,” Meyer said anything less than a substantial prison sentence would downplay the facts of the case.
“One of the factors that absolutely jumps out,” Meyer said, “A lesser sentence would minimize the seriousness of the crime.
“I do not believe you are remorseful,” Meyer added. “You are volatile and dangerous.”
Kelly was arrested after Larkin’s death in August 2015 following an incident at a Post Falls home on Box Canyon Road that left Larkin, 22, in a coma for several days before he died.
A witness, Josh Brown, testified at a preliminary hearing that he and Larkin had gone to Kelly’s residence to buy drugs. They were confronted by a high and paranoid Kelly who accused them of being police informants. To prove they were not working for authorities who sought to arrest Kelly for dealing drugs, Kelly told both men to prove their loyalty by ingesting large quantities of meth. He reportedly told Evan — who was his friend — to eat a “two gram rock.” When he refused, Kelly threatened him with an M-16 style assault rifle, according to Brown’s testimony in court records.
Evan ingested the meth and began seizing, convulsing and foaming at the mouth, according to testimony.
When Brown, who was wanted on a probation violation, asked Kelly what to do, Kelly reportedly told Brown to drive Larkin to a field and dump the body.
“Like a bag of garbage,” an emotional Clay Larkin said Thursday addressing the court.
Clay Larkin — former Post Falls mayor and Evan’s grandfather — said Kelly should not be allowed ever again to freely walk in public.
“My God, what were you thinking of?” Larkin asked Kelly at Thursday’s hearing. “That was a human life that you took.”
His daughter, Lori, Evan’s mother, told the defendant she hid her son’s urn because she heard Kelly had threatened to find it. She fled to Washington for two months after Kelly was released from jail earlier this year because she feared him.
“The fact is you are a horrible person who killed my son,” she said. “What does it feel like to kill your friend?”
Deputy prosecutor Donna Gardner asked the court to impose a 25-year sentence to protect the public from Kelly, but public defender Sean P. Walsh refuted claims that his client was a killer. He asked the court to place Kelly in a prison rehabilitation program that led to probation.
The small, somber contingent of family members left the courtroom after sentencing to hug in the hallway.
The sentence was justified, Clay Larkin said.
“It was better than we expected,” he said. “This never should have happened … Hopefully (Kelly) won’t have the chance to hurt anyone again.”
Brown, who drove Larkin’s comatose body to Kootenai Health after the incident, leaving him in the pickup truck at the emergency room entrance, is incarcerated on an unrelated charge.
Kelly’s original charge was reduced from murder to drug delivery, Meyer said, because with the enhancement they both carried the same minimum prison term. Kelly still faces a slew of felony charges he committed this year after being released from jail.