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Marcus Lee pleads guilty to accomplice to murder

Plea deal would call for him to serve 15 years

Marcus Jermaine Lee, 22, pleaded guilty on Friday to an amended charged of Class A felony accomplice to murder in the shooting death on Sunday of 29-year-old Dominick Stephens. Also on Friday, arrest warrants were issued for two co-defendants, Donald Lee Cooper Jr., 27, and Michael Lamart Dennis II, 24.

Cooper and Dennis are each charged with accomplice to murder, a Class AA felony; Class A felony attempted murder; Class C felony reckless endangerment committed with a dangerous weapon, and Class C felony terrorizing with a dangerous weapon. The complaints have not been served on the two men and their whereabouts are unknown, according to police. Cooper is a black male, 6 feet 1 inches, weighing 276 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. Dennis is a black male, 6 feet 2 inches, weighing 163 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. Anyone with information about Cooper and Dennis is asked to contact the Minot police department at 852-0111 or submit a tip at www.minotnd.org/FormCenter/Police- Department-5/Crime-Information-Form-44

Lee, who had been arrested Monday evening and charged early Tuesday with Class AA felony conspiracy to commit murder, was offered a plea deal and agreed to plead guilty to the reduced charge. In return, the state is recommending that Lee be sentenced to 20 years in prison, with a requirement that he serve 15 years, and three years of supervised probation following his release. He would be required to serve 85 percent of his sentence under state sentencing guidelines.

North Central District Court Judge Doug Mattson accepted the guilty plea and ordered a pre-sentence investigation for Lee. Mattson would not necessarily have to accept the plea deal at the upcoming sentencing hearing.

Ward County State’s Attorney Roza Larson told the judge on Friday that it was appropriate to amend the charge to an A felony because new evidence has come to light and Lee committed the crime while he was under an extreme emotional disturbance.

There is still an ongoing investigation and Mattson has sealed most of the court documents in the cases and issued a gag order. However, Mattson did order the state to file a redacted court document outlining the crime that Lee committed.

According to a police press release, police were investigating gunshots at 6:07 a.m. Sunday in the area of 13th Street and 11th Avenue NW in Minot. A few minutes later, Minot Central Dispatch received a report of a vehicle involved in a crash near the Minot State University Dome. It was determined the driver of the vehicle, Stephens, had been shot. Stephens was taken to Trinity Hospital and was pronounced dead a short time later.

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