The man who was found in his Zachary home with a large knife sticking from his chest this week had a falling out a few years ago with the suspect in his killing, the victim’s son said Tuesday.
Stephen Kennedy Jr., who described his father as laid back but fiercely independent, said the dispute between the two led to a physical altercation at one point and that his father wanted nothing further to do with his accused killer, 37-year-old David Matthew Lyon, a former coworker and roommate.
East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested Lyon, 153 N. 17th St., and booked him into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on Monday night on a count of second-degree murder.
Lyon’s arrest came a day after deputies discovered the body of 62-year-old Stephen Kennedy Sr. inside his home at 19640 Deer Creek Drive. Deputies went to the address after a neighbor reported to authorities on Sunday evening that Kennedy hadn’t been seen in several days, a Sheriff’s Office report says.
His body, which already had begun to decompose, was found in a rear bedroom in the home, Sgt. Scott Henning Jr. wrote in the report.
Dr. William “Beau” Clark, East Baton Rouge Parish coroner, said the stab wound to the torso killed Kennedy but that it wasn’t clear when he died.
The exterior of the home was secured but evidence found inside the rear bedroom where Kennedy was found suggests a physical struggle took place, Henning wrote.
Bloody palm prints found on the walls, which Henning wrote could only have been left by the attacker as he left the bedroom, matched Lyon’s left and right palms, the report says.
Kennedy’s son, Stephen Kennedy Jr., said his father had a falling out with Lyon “about three or four years ago” that also involved a physical altercation between the two men.
“He had dealings with him before,” Kennedy Jr., who lives outside of Miami, said in a telephone interview. “I talked with my dad about it, and from what I understood, my dad didn’t want nothing to do with him anymore.”
Lyon is on probation after pleading guilty in September to a felony count of home invasion. Baton Rouge police officers wrestled Lyon to the ground and used a stun gun on him in April 2015 after he allegedly attacked a person after barging into their Tigerland Avenue apartment, according to a police report.
Court records indicate Lyon failed to show for a review hearing on March 29 and that state District Judge Louis Daniel issued a warrant for Lyon’s arrest. It wasn’t clear Tuesday evening whether the warrant was still active at the time of the slaying.
Two years earlier, a Baton Rouge state district court judge sentenced Lyon to 30 days in Parish Prison after he was caught in 2013 living for several days inside another man’s Zachary house. The arrest report, which listed Lyon’s address as homeless, says Lyon started kicking and yelling at deputies after being arrested.
Kennedy Jr. said his father, who was born in Ohio and grew up in Kentucky, raised two children in the Miami area and spent several years as a Christian street minister in the South Florida city but moved to Louisiana several years ago to settle down.
An avid angler, he often raved to his son over the phone about the fishing in Louisiana, conversations his son said could stretch on for hours.
A roofer by trade who also had a daughter and six grandchildren, Kennedy Jr. said his father was looking forward to retiring soon.
“He wanted to take it easy, that was his thing,” Kennedy said. “He’s real good-hearted and a decent person. He could get along with anybody. If you couldn’t get along with my dad, then you probably had a problem.”
After deputies informed him of his father’s death Sunday night, Kennedy said he climbed in his truck and made the roughly 13-hour drive to Zachary. After picking up his dad’s dogs and handling a few of his dad’s affairs, he drove right back to Florida, arriving back home Tuesday morning.
“It’s real sad, but I don’t think it’s set in, and I don’t think I’ve had time to really reflect on it,” Kennedy said. “But I know my dad was a believer, and he’s in a better place.”
Follow Bryn Stole on Twitter, @BrynStole.