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Marcus Lee, Minot, to serve 15 years for accomplice to murder

Marcus Jermaine Lee, 22, was sentenced on Thursday to 20 years in prison, with five years suspended, followed by three years supervised probation for his role in the Jan. 12 shooting death of Dominick Stephens, 29, and the attempted murder of Stephens’ passenger, Patrick Bost, 28.

Judge Doug Mattson also noted that Lee must serve a minimum of four years on the Class A felony accomplice to murder charge and will have to serve at least 85 percent of the 15 years before he is eligible for parole. Lee will receive credit for 137 days already served in the Ward County Jail.

Lee’s co-defendant, Michael Lamart Dennis II, 25, pleaded guilty in April to Class AA felony accomplice to murder and will be sentenced on June 12.

A second co-defendant, Donald Lee Cooper Jr., 27, fled to Milwaukee after the shooting and was apprehended there on April 3. According to the U.S. Marshals Service, Cooper crashed his vehicle into another car while fleeing police in Milwaukee and killed two people in the other car. He has been charged with reckless homicide in state court in Wisconsin. In North Dakota, he is facing Class AA felony accomplice to murder, Class A felony attempted murder, Class C felony reckless endangerment and Class C felony terrorizing charges. Cooper is still in custody at the Milwaukee County Jail. He is contesting extradition back to North Dakota. No court date has been set for him in district court in North Dakota.

Lee turned himself into police shortly after the shooting and said he wanted a plea deal. He was driving a car that pursued the car driven by Stephens through northwest Minot. Cooper and Dennis were passengers in Lee’s vehicle and Lee told police that Cooper and Dennis repeatedly pressured him to follow Stephens’ vehicle and he was afraid of what would happen if he did not comply. Cooper and Dennis were the shooters, according to a probable cause affidavit filed with the court.

According to a probable cause affidavit in a related case, Cooper and Bost had been arguing verbally at different locations all through the evening and got into a physical fight in the hallway outside a hotel room rented by Stephens on Jan. 12. Cooper allegedly knocked Bost to the floor, then asked Dennis for a gun and threatened to kill Bost. Dennis refused at first to give Cooper his gun. Bost then allegedly got up and physically attacked Dennis. Dennis then pulled his gun on Bost and made a verbal threat to kill Bost. The parties scattered when they were told the police had been called. Cooper and Dennis got into the vehicle driven by Lee. Bost left with Stephens, who had apparently not been involved in the earlier altercation.

Stephens was shot twice in the back and crashed his vehicle into a boulder in front of the Minot State University Dome at 6:07 a.m. on Jan. 12. Stephens died. Bost was not injured.

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