The man accused of a Walmart carjacking and shooting of Hopkinsville Police Department officer Jeremy Davidson in February 2019 received a life sentence Wednesday morning in Christian Circuit Judge John Atkins’ courtroom.
Keith Kuzyk, 30, Clarksville, appeared in court via Zoom while at the Christian County Jail along with his defense attorney Rick Sanborn to receive his sentence after being found guilty by jury on all of his charges in September.
The jury ultimately unanimously found Kuzyk guilty of attempted murder, first-degree fleeing or evading police (motor vehicle), theft by unlawful taking of an auto over $10,000 and first-degree wanton endangerment of a police officer.
While the jury found him not guilty of receiving stolen property under $10,000, it did, however, find him guilty of being a second-degree persistent felony offender.
Kuzyk was sentenced to 18 years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release by United States Senior District Court Judge Thomas B. Russell on Dec. 18, 2020 for federal charges related to his case locally.
Kuzyk pleaded guilty to carjacking, use and discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. As Kuzyk’s charges are federal, there is no parole for those crimes.
Prior to Kuzyk receiving his sentence Wednesday, Atkins gave both Sanborn and Kuzyk a chance to speak
Sanborn shared that because Kuzyk entered a guilty plea on his federal charges, Kuzyk was not allowed to testify at trial or speak much on his charges in general and because of that, Kuzyk was only allowed to speak briefly.
“I would just like to tell the families that I have been praying for them and everybody that is involved in the case,” Kuzyk said.
Atkins commended Kuzyk for his words before ultimately sentencing him according to the jury’s recommendation of life in prison.
“That’s very commendable of you, Mr. Kuzyk, but nevertheless, your very serious circumstances have been discussed and you know how serious,” Atkins said. “And, my discretion is extremely limited and I feel obliged to follow the jury’s recommendation of life.”
According to New Era archives, Ofc. Davidson was shot in the head and arm around 1:30 a.m. Feb. 18, 2019, while in pursuit of Kuzyk after he had allegedly committed a robbery. A woman reported to police that she was robbed by a masked man at Walmart on Clinic Drive. The suspect, later identified as Kuzyk, also stole her car.
A warrant was later issued for Kuzyk, along with three other suspects, Autumn Neblett, September Neblett and Anthony Johnson.
In other court news, one of the suspects accused of committing crimes as part of a local gang known as “Face Shot Gang” or “FSG” appeared in Atkins’ court for a bond reduction motion hearing.
Antoniyon Cayce, 19, appeared in Atkins’ court via Zoom while at the jail as his private defense attorney Stephanie Ritchie-Mize appeared in person to argue for the reduction of Cayce’s bond.
Ritchie-Mize argued that while he is charged with engaging in organized crime, unlike his codefendants in the case, Cayce has no other cases in circuit court. She did acknowledge, however, that he was on probation at the time he was charged with organized crime.
Ritchie-Mize continued to argue that while on probation, prior to this charge, Cayce had followed all restrictions on him and had been doing well, according to his probation officer. With all of that in mind, she requested that Cayce be placed back on probation, be granted a reduced bond and be allowed release from custody.
“I’m asking the court to allow him to be placed on an ankle monitor pending any further proceedings in this organized crime case,” Ritchie-Mize said. “I spoke with probation and it’s my understanding that after being placed on probation, he has not had any violations or new crimes other than the text messaging information that (Christian County Commonwealth’s Attorney) Mr. (Rick) Boling said is in evidence.”
Neither Boling nor Ritchie-Mize elaborated further on the “text messaging information,” but Ritchie-Mize indicated that those aforementioned text messages were the basis of his organized crime charge.
Boling argued against reducing Cayce’s bond and felt that it was appropriate based on his alleged involvement in the “criminal syndicate.”
However, Boling added that the commonwealth would not be against reducing his $20,000 cash bond down to $10,000 in cash. Ritchie-Mize requested the bond be reduced down to 10% of his $20,000 bond, or in other words, $2,000 in cash.
“We would have no objection to reducing it to $10,000, but we think that $2,000 is inappropriate,” Boling said.
Ultimately, Atkins chose to allow the reduction of Cayce’s bond to $2,000 in cash.
After the judge’s decision, Boling asked if Atkins would require Cayce to be on ankle monitor after his family posts his bond.
Atkins stated that he would leave that decision to the office of probation and parole, based on his previous behavior while on probation.
“I do think he needs to be reporting weekly,” Atkins said before adding that the court would require that Cayce has no contact with any of the codefendants involved in the case.
Isaiah Henderson, 20, Jayden Weaver, 18, Antoniyon Cayce, 19, Emonie Evans, 18 and Jacquez Redd, 21, were all also arrested for their alleged involvement in the local gang and each charged with engaging in organized crime.
According to New Era archives and court documents, Ty’Rell Bateman, 19, and Tyresse Hollowell, 21, as well as two others, who are currently juveniles, have also been arrested and charged with organized crime.