Gaithersburg Man Sentenced To Federal Prison For Lying During Murder Investigation

Witnesses say he was at the scene of the crime.

Baltimore, Md. (From the U.S. Department of Justice) – “Chief U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar today sentenced John Willie Kennedy, a/k/a “Cognac” and “Yak,” age 46, of Gaithersburg, Maryland, to six years in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for obstruction of justice, specifically for lying to a federal grand jury and to law enforcement in connection with a murder.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Special Agent in Charge Toni M. Crosby of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Baltimore Field Division; Commissioner Richard Worley of the Baltimore Police Department; Chief Gregory Der of the Howard County Police Department and Howard County State’s Attorney Rich Gibson.

According to court documents, on September 3, 2017, Meiko Locksley was found shot in front of a townhouse in the 5500 block of Harpers Farm Road in Columbia, Maryland.  Locksley was transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced deceased.  Kennedy, who called 911 to report the shooting, lived in the townhouse row directly behind the townhouses where Locksley was found.  In the days following the shooting, law enforcement interviewed Kennedy about the shooting, but Kennedy claimed he had not seen anything.  Kennedy said he was at home and found Locksley after hearing a loud “bang” and going to investigate.  Although Kennedy claimed not to have seen Locksley on September 3, phone records showed that the two had a series of calls shortly before Locksley was killed.

According to his plea agreement, on January 4, 2018, investigators interviewed Kennedy again, confronting him with the phone contact between his cellphone and Locksley’s cellphone.  Kennedy admitted that he “might have” sold marijuana to Locksley but denied having any information about the shooting.  Kennedy again maintained that he was in his house and only went out to investigate after hearing gunshots.  After the murder weapon was found in Baltimore City in March 2020, federal investigators obtained a search warrant for location data for Kennedy’s cellphone at the time of the murder.  The location data proved that at the time of the murder, Kennedy was in the parking lot in front of the townhouse where Locksley was killed.

As detailed in the plea agreement, on April 4, 2021, Kennedy falsely testified before the federal grand jury that he was in his house at the time that Meiko Locksley was shot.  Federal investigators subsequently learned that witnesses saw Kennedy in front of the townhome where Locksley was shot immediately before and after the shooting.  Kennedy was seen putting something in the back of his truck immediately after the shooting, then ran towards the direction of his townhome.  Kennedy admits that he lied to the grand jury and that by doing so he obstructed the proceeding and impeded the investigation.

This case was made possible by investigative leads generated from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives’ (ATF) National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN).  NIBIN is the only national network that allows for the capture and comparison of ballistic evidence to aid in solving and preventing violent crimes involving firearms.  NIBIN is a proven investigative and intelligence tool that can link firearms from multiple crime scenes, allowing law enforcement to quickly disrupt shooting cycles.  For more information on NIBIN, visit

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (“PSN”), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.  On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the ATF, the Baltimore Police Department, the Howard County Police Department, and the Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation and prosecution.  Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kim Hagan and Colleen Elizabeth McGuinn, who prosecuted the case.

For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit and”