LITTLE ROCK — The Supreme Court of Arkansas affirmed that a Mississippi County man’s murder sentence was illegally enhanced.
Markus Gentry, 31, of Blytheville, was convicted of second-degree murder for the January 2019 death of Lewis Gamble. Gamble, 35, of Jonesboro died during surgery after being shot by Gentry during a dispute about a car accident at his northwest Jonesboro barbershop.
Gentry was sentenced to life imprisonment. A firearm enhancement added 10 years to his sentence.
“I knew I was going to jail because I wasn’t supposed to have a gun,” he testified before a jury last February.
Prosecutors wrote in a report that Gentry “possessed or owned a firearm and has been convicted of a violent felony.”
He challenged the enhancement noting that it was added illegally under a provision that says a person found guilty to “a second or subsequent felony involving the use of a firearm shall be sentenced to a minimum of imprisonment of 10 years in the Division of Correction without eligibility of parole or community correction transfer but subject to reduction by meritorious good-time credit.”
The law prosecutors cited to add the enhancement to Gentry’s life sentence was used incorrectly, justices concluded.
“Gentry’s ten-year sentence under section 16-90-121 is illegal. (It) does not authorize a trial court to sentence a defendant to an additional ten years’ imprisonment; rather, it mandates that a defendant serve a minimum of ten years in prison before becoming eligible for parole,” wrote associate judge Robin Wynne.
Records show that Gentry is serving his sentence in the Arkansas Department of Corrections Varner Supermax facility in Lincoln County.