After deliberating several hours Thursday night, a Jefferson County Circuit Court jury found Lecole Wilson guilty of manslaughter in the 2018 shooting death of a man she called her best friend.
Wilson was sentenced to five years in prison on the manslaughter charge and another five years for using a firearm in the commission of another felony, with the sentences to run consecutively, meaning one after the other.
Wilson had originally been charged with first-degree murder in the Aug. 28, 2018, death of Jamonte Smith, 20, who was found with a bullet wound to the chest in the bedroom of a house at 2809 W. 40th Ave. and taken to Jefferson Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
After the prosecution rested its case Thursday, Wilson’s defense attorney, Garfield Bloodman, successfully challenged the first-degree murder allegation, arguing that prosecutors had failed to prove that Wilson intended to kill Smith. Circuit Judge Jodi Raines Dennis issued a directed verdict on that charge.
Bloodman’s attempt for a directed verdict on a charge of second-degree murder, however, was unsuccessful, so the jury could consider that, as well the lesser included charge of manslaughter.
Testifying in her own defense, Wilson said the shooting of Smith was an accident, and she admitted to lying to police initially by saying that she and Smith were outside when a stray bullet struck him.
The truth is this, Wilson said: She was in the bathroom sitting on the toilet and rolling a “joint” by removing tobacco from a cigarillo and replacing it with marijuana, and Smith was outside the bathroom putting Wilson’s daughter’s clothes in a dresser.
Wilson said Smith heard the girl, who was 1-year-old, coming into the room, and Wilson grabbed the gun she had been holding to put it in a bag.
“It accidentally discharged, and I shot him in the chest,” she said.
Wilson, who has been in jail since being arrested Aug. 29, 2018, will receive credit for the time she was held prior to the trial.