Landlord sentenced to 60 years for killing tenant

BRIDGEPORT — A city landlord, who fatally shot one of his tenants in a dispute rent money, was sentenced to 60 years in prison today.

Jimmy Cunningham, 41, boasted he was going to walk free from the courtroom moments before a jury convicted him of murder and possession of a pistol without a permit   for shooting Daniel Speller, the father of a 6-year-old girl. He was sentenced by  Superior Court Judge Maria Kahn. Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Harry had asked the judge to impose the maximum sentence of 65 years in prison.

 Speller, 32, an employee of Hearst Media Services, was killed following the argument on the front porch of a house on Worth Street where he rented an apartment from Cunningham . He was shot in the upper chest, arm and leg after midnight on Aug. 6, 2012.

A neighbor testified he had been playing a video game when he heard shots coming from next door. He said he looked out his window and saw Cunningham in a crouched position facing the porch. He then saw Cunningham grab the victim by the ankle and drag him off the porch.

A jury convicted Cunningham of the crime last August however, sentencing was delayed after Cunningham fired his lawyers following the verdict. He is now represented by the public defender.

Daniel Tepfer