A man who lived in the town house complex where 25-year-old Meiko Locksley, son of University of Maryland football coach Mike Locksley, was found dead over six years ago pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal obstruction of justice charge.
The plea agreement signed by John Willie Kennedy Jr., 45, and filed in court Thursday details that he told a federal grand jury in 2021 that he was inside his Columbia town house when he heard the gunshots that killed Locksley — and admitted that story was false when federal agents confronted him over a year later.
Kennedy’s attorney, Brandon Patterson, did not immediately return a request to comment Thursday evening.
The conviction can net Kennedy a sentence as high as 10 years, but prosecutors indicated they will recommend a sentence of just over seven years for the obstruction charge stemming from the September 2017 shooting on the 5500 block of Harpers Farm Road in the Village of Harper’s Choice.
Kennedy, who lived a block away, was one of three people who called 911 after the shooting, according to an affidavit written by a Howard County Police officer deputized by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
He said he had come outside after hearing the gunshots, and maintained for several months he hadn’t seen Locksley before the shooting — until he was confronted with phone records showing he had multiple incoming and outgoing calls with Locksley minutes before the shooting, both court filings say.
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He admitted to investigators in 2018 that he “might have” sold cannabis to Locksley moments before the 25-year-old was shot, but maintained he did not see who shot him, and came outside only after the gunshots, the plea agreement says. That’s what he told the grand jury three years later.
But other witnesses identified Kennedy — one of four persons of interest developed by Howard authorities in the homicide — as the man they saw placing something into the trunk of his vehicle immediately after the shooting, the affidavit says.
Kennedy later admitted to lying to the 2021 grand jury, federal prosecutors wrote in a court filing, noting that he spent over two hours speaking about another suspect and “even got up from the table and re-enacted where people stood at the time, and estimated distances from one another.” The plea agreement ends by saying Kennedy confessed during the 2022 interview that he was with Locksley and both spoke with the suspect in the moments before the shooting.
The separate court filing by prosecutors says that when Kennedy was set to testify before another grand jury investigating Locksley’s death later in 2022, he said he would state he was inside and did not see anything.
“Kennedy stated that he would not be a witness for the government and would rather go to jail,” prosecutors said.
Kennedy is the only person who has faced charges directly related to Locksley’s homicide. He was indicted last September, and is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 18 by the U.S. District Court for Maryland’s chief judge, James K. Bredar.
Meiko Locksley’s father became the Terps’ head coach in 2018 after a stint on the University of Alabama’s coaching staff as offensive coordinator. Previously, he had been Maryland’s offensive coordinator under Randy Edsall and was later named interim head coach in 2015 after Edsall’s firing.