ST. LOUIS – A Ferguson man will spend decades behind bars in connection with a man’s shooting death last year in St. Louis, which followed a heated argument.

A judge has sentenced DeAndre Wilkes, 44, to 30 years in prison. Wilkes was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and armed criminal action charges last month.

Investigators say Clifton Cooley Jr., 32, was shot in the neck during an argument at a home in the 3800 block of Eichelberger Street in the Bevo Mill neighborhood. Authorities say Cooley was unarmed when he was shot and later died from his injuries.

Wilkes reportedly fled the home after the shooting. Prosecutors sought convictions for first-degree murder and armed criminal action cases, but jurors returned convictions on lesser counts.

According to court filings, Wilkes had previously served prison time for robbing a bank and also became a drug dealer after leaving prison.

“The defendant was not a drug user. He was not an addict,” Assistant Attorney Sherry Wolk wrote of Wilkes. “He created addicts, as he did with (Cooley) in this case.”

Wilkes wrote that Wiles initially denied involvement in the shooting and later claimed self-defense.

Wilkes was sentenced to 15 years for each of his two felony charges, and those sentences will run consecutively.