Lee sentenced to 12 years for second degree murder

Published 6:35 pm Friday, October 7, 2016

Jason Lamont Lee, 20, of Kenbridge, was sentenced Friday in Lunenburg County Circuit Court to 12 years in prison on a felony conviction of second degree murder as a result of stabbing to death his best friend, Jamal Williams, on March 17 in Kenbridge.

A jury trial was planned for later this month on the original charge of first degree murder, but a plea agreement was reached between the defendant and prosecutor earlier last week and presented to Circuit Court Judge S. Anderson Nelson, who accepted the agreement. Lee pleaded “no contest” to the charge but stipulated that the evidence was sufficient to convict him.

The sentence was a total of 40 years with 28 years suspended on conditions of good behavior for 40 years, supervised probation upon his release for five years, warrantless search and seizures upon his release for five years, and no contact with the Williams family.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert Clement said the facts “may have satisfied a jury that the defendant premeditated sufficiently for first degree murder since he picked up a kitchen knife and walked to the street from his house to confront Williams, but a jury may just as well have determined it was committed in the heat of passion after Williams threatened Lee, hit him in the face on his front porch, and invited him into the street to fight, which would have supported a finding of voluntary manslaughter with a maximum sentence of 10 years.”

Clement said he wanted “a guarantee of significant suspended time over Lee’s head when he gets out subject to the conditions listed in the agreement.”

Clement said the parents of Williams agreed to the disposition and signed off on the agreement, as well as Kenbridge Police Chief Raymond Hite. The active sentence of 12 years was three years under the low end of state sentencing guidelines, which were two times higher than usual because of Lee’s convictions as a juvenile for breaking and entering and grand larceny, Clement said.