KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A man who killed his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend at a New Year’s Eve gathering has been found guilty.
D’tearius Carvell Southern, 28, was found guilty of Second Degree Murder, Aggravated Assault, Reckless Endangerment with a Deadly Weapon, Tampering with Evidence, and Unlawful Possession of a Weapon by a Convicted Drug Felon. He has been sentenced to serve 23 years in prison.
On December 31, 2021, Terrel Kemp was celebrating New Year’s Eve with his girlfriend and her two children. Southern, the father of one of the children, was invited by Kemp to join the family according to the DA’s office. During the evening, prosecutors said Southern made an unwanted advance on his ex and was asked to leave. This led to an argument that would turn physical. At the trial, prosecutors argued Southern pulled a firearm and shot Kemp twice while arguing.
Knoxville Police investigated the shooting and named Southern as the suspect. He would be arrested on Jan. 13, 2022. In addition, the five-year-old child who saw the shooting was interviewed at ChildHelp of East Tennessee.
At trial, Southern claimed he was acting in self-defense, however, prosecutors show that one of the two gunshot wounds Kemp suffered was in his back.
“Unfortunately, this is another example of a defendant using a firearm during an argument,” said DA Charme Allen. “We will continue to aggressively prosecute both violent offenders and felons in possession of firearms.”
Second Degree Murder is a Class A felony that carries a punishment of between 15 and 25 years in prison without the possibility of parole. Aggravated Assault, Tampering with Evidence, and Unlawful Possession of a Weapon are all Class C felonies, carrying a punishment between three and six years.
Southern’s prior felony conviction is for Possession with Intent to Sell Marijuana.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to include the sentencing decision from March 9.