ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – A jury acquitted a University City man of a murder charge, but convicted him of a gun charge tied to a man’s death in 2018.
Jimmie Duncan, 34, was on trial this week in the shooting death of Robert Lamont Lee in Oct. 2018. The jury found Duncan not guilty of second-degree murder and armed criminal action in the case, but convicted him for unlawful gun possession.
Investigators say Lee, then 25 years old, was fatally shot on Oct. 8, 2018, during a fight outside a home in the 1400 block of Belt Avenue in St. Louis’ Hamilton Heights neighborhood.
During trial this week, Duncan testified that he did not shoot Lee and that Lee accidentally shot himself in the head during a struggle over the gun. Duncan said the gun went off when he tried to stop Lee from grabbing it in an effort to prevent Lee from hurting his brothers and mother.
Prosecutors challenged Duncan’s claims that Lee was one of his close friends, asking him why he drove off after the shooting instead of helping his wounded friend. Duncan was also banned from having a gun during the time of Lee’s death because of a 2009 felony drug conviction.
In 2019, Duncan was previously sentenced to 15 years in prison over involuntary manslaughter and other charges in connection with Lee’s death. The following year, Duncan sought to have his convictions overturn, arguing that he wouldn’t have pleaded guilty if he received different advice from his public defender, per court records.
In Sept. 2021, the old convictions were dismissed in lieu of a new trial as a circuit judge found Duncan had ineffective legal representation. Duncan testified at a hearing last year that he was trying to defend Lee’s brothers and mother by preventing Lee from getting the gun.
A sentencing hearing over the gun charge is pending.