A Jefferson City man has been sentenced to life in prison after a jury found him guilty in the shooting death of another Jefferson City man on New Year's Day 2017.
Cole County Judge Dan Green sentenced Jeffery Millens Jr., 26, on Wednesday to life in prison for being found guilty of second-degree murder, plus 10 years for being found guilty of armed criminal action and 10 years for being found guilty of unlawful possession of a firearm. Those last two sentences will be served consecutive to the life sentence.
Green also ordered that Millens be given credit for time he has already served.
A Cole County jury in October deliberated a little more than three hours before delivering a guilty verdict against Millens after a three-day trial.
The victim, Quonterio Davis, 23, died after being shot multiple times in the torso in a residence in the 900 block of East Capitol Avenue.
Green had ordered a sentencing advisory report be done by the Missouri Office of Probation and Parole prior to this hearing. Cole County Prosecutor Locke Thompson asked Green to follow the recommendations of the report and give Millens the maximum sentence.
Authorities said both men had a child with a woman who was at a party where the shooting occurred and that Millens did not like that Davis. Thompson said this crime occurred while Millens was out on parole for another felony.
"He knew Quonterio Davis was at this party, he went to this party, he confronted him and he gunned him down," Thompson said.
Millens took the stand in his own defense at the trial and admitted he was at the party but said he had seen three other people get into a fight and didn't know who they were. When he heard shots, he said, he joined the rest of the people who were at the party and fled the residence.
The jury had heard calls Millens made to the 911 Center claiming he was getting death threats about shooting someone but he didn't know anything about a shooting. He also said he didn't understand why he needed to speak to an officer face-to-face instead of doing so over the phone.
Millens' attorney, Adam Cartwright, argued the only thing that had been proven about his client during the trial was he was at the residence the night the shooting occurred. He noted that, on the mugshot taken of Millens after he was arrested a few hours after the shooting, he had no marks on his face that would indicate he had been in a fight and no blood was ever found on the clothes he was wearing that night.
"The state did not provide any evidence that Mr. Millens knew Davis was at this party, nor did they ever show that Mr. Millens was in possession of a weapon at the time," Cartwright said.
Cartwright had filed a motion for a new trial based on juror misconduct, saying one of the jurors had lived near Millens and may have had prejudiced feelings. Thompson filed a motion to quash Cartwight's motion, saying it came after the filing deadline and that Cartwright had offered no tangible evidence to show the juror might have been hostile toward Millens.
The juror in question had been subpoenaed to testify at Wednesday's hearing and was in the courtroom, but Green ruled in favor of Thompson's motion to quash and the juror never took the stand.
Prior to his sentencing, Millens asked Green to consider any sort of leniency possible and said he knew was innocent.
"I've put my family through a lot," Millens said. "My two daughters have been born while I was incarcerated, which has been four years. The authorities manipulated their evidence against me. I'm sympathetic as a parent because if my child were hurt or harmed, I would be hurt. Hopefully one day I will be able to prove my innocence in this situation."