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Fresno attorney says client may be an idiot, but he's not a murderer

The defense attorney for the young man accused of murdering an Edison High School football player says his client may be an idiot, but he's not a murderer.
Monday, August 18, 2014
The defense attorney for the young man accused of murdering an Edison High School football player says his client may be an idiot, but he's not a murderer.

Terrance Lee admits to firing the gun that killed Marquis Sutton. But Lee's attorney says it's not an admission of murder.

Hands crossed and face forward, Terrance Lee sat stoically as his own attorney opened his case with a lecture.

Jim Lambe said, "Terrance, you should've known it was dangerous to use that gun in that way, but you didn't know."

Lee killed 18-year-old Marquis Sutton back in September 2012. There's no doubt about that. But how he did it and why are in dispute as Lee stands trial for murder.

Prosecutors say he loaded his revolver with a single bullet, spun the cylinder, and started aiming it at the injured football player.

Three other guys saw it happen. Among them was a 13-year-old boy we're not identifying because of his age. He says he heard Lee toying with his target as he pulled the trigger.

"Terrance said 'let's see how fast he can run with his messed up ankle," explained the teen witness. "Then he shot it the first time, it didn't go off. He shot it the second time and it went off."

The bullet struck Sutton in the neck and killed him. Witnesses say Lee dragged the body out in front of the Ashmark Arms apartment complex and tried to get them to say it was a drive-by shooting. When police caught up to him, his first story was that the gun just went off.

Defense attorney Jim Lambe says Lee's first words after the shooting are more significant.

"The words were 'oh my god," said Lambe. "How did this happen? Why did this happen?"

Lambe says Lee is guilty of involuntary manslaughter, not murder, because he never intended to shoot Sutton.

Attorneys say the trial will be done in about a week and Lee is not expected to testify.



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