Lyons sentenced to 50 years for Deere manslaughter

Aaron LaDaniel Lyons, the man found guilty of manslaughter in the 2004 death of John Henry Deere, was sentenced to 50 years in prison by Judge David Strong on Monday.

 

A Lincoln County jury found Lyons, 34, guilty of one count of manslaughter and one count of armed robbery on Thursday after a two-day trial. Strong sentenced Lyons to 20 years for manslaughter and 35 years for armed robbery with five years suspended with post-release supervision, making for a total of 50 years in jail.

 

Lyons

Lyons

Deere, who owned and operated the Pik & Pak on Highway 51, was found dead on the morning of Jan. 16, 2004, from three gunshot wounds to the back of his body — two in his back and one to the back of his neck. Deere was 55 at the time of his death.

 

Before his sentencing Lyons opted not to make a comment. Four family members spoke on behalf of Deere. All called for the court to administer the maximum sentence for each crime.

 

“I had to call my mother, no daughter should have to do that,” Kathy Sanders, Deere’s niece, said. “I had to break my mother’s heart that day.”

 

Sanders, the first to share comments, said that she and Deere’s other nieces and nephews called Deere “John H” instead of “uncle” because “he was more than an uncle.”

 

Connie Deere read a statement written by Kenneth Deere, Deere’s only surviving sibling. Kenneth’s statement described how close their family was.

 

“On Jan. 16, 2004, that family unit was irretrievably broken when Aaron LaDaniel Lyons murdered John in cold blood,” Kenneth said in his statement. “Missing him has never lessened since the event.”

 

The last to speak was Shirley Deere-Newman, Deere’s wife at the time of his death. Deere-Newman said that she felt God has been in control of the situation since the beginning.

 

“In his own perfect timing, he’s brought everyone and everything in place to bring you to justice,” Deere-Newman said.

 

Lyons was indicted Sept. 3, 2014, for murder in the death of John Deere. Lyons pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Oct. 4, 2014.

 

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