Lee sentenced for murder

Published 10:54 am Thursday, October 13, 2016

Jason Lamont Lee, 20, of Kenbridge, will spend the next 12 years in prison after being sentenced Friday in Lunenburg County Circuit Court on a felony second-degree murder conviction. A plea agreement led to the sentencing where Lee pleaded no contest to stabbing his best friend, Jamal Williams, to death on March 17 in Kenbridge.

A jury trial was planned for later this month on the original charge of first-degree murder, but Circuit Court Judge S. Anderson Nelson accepted the plea agreement between Lee and prosecutors earlier last week. While Lee pleaded no contest to the charge, he stipulated the evidence against him was sufficient to convict him.

Anderson sentenced Lee to 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 Williams’ parents agreed to the disposition and signed off on the agreement, as did 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.

Sgt. Aaron Peter of the Kenbridge Police Department was dispatched at about 2 p.m. on March 17 to Center Street because of multiple “hang-up” 911 calls from that location. He found four males, one lying on the ground bleeding from the chest, one trying to stop the bleeding with his hands and two looking on. Peter eventually determined that the man on the street was Williams and that he had suffered a stab wound about an inch below the left nipple. Rescue squad personnel determined that Williams had died on the scene.