A Missouri man has been charged with murder in the second degree in connection with the fatal shooting of an 18-year-old man in Cole County on June 1. The 21-year-old Jefferson City resident originally faced counts of first-degree assault, armed criminal action and delivering a controlled substance, but the charges were modified after the victim succumbed to his injuries on June 8. He has been denied bond. An 18-year-old Jefferson City man and a 17-year-old Holts Summit teen have also been charged in connection with the shooting.

The shooting reportedly took place in the parking lot of a pharmacy on West Truman Boulevard. Jefferson City Police Department officers believe that the accused shooter arranged to meet the victim and other teens to sell them marijuana. Two of the charged teens allegedly told detectives that they changed their minds and decided to rob the seller instead of paying for the drugs, and the situation turned violent. Police say no marks were found on the victim’s body that would suggest he had been involved in an altercation although the alleged shooter says that he fired a gun in self-defense.

The charges the man faces are extremely serious. Murder in the second degree is a Class A felony in Missouri, which means that if he is convicted, the man would have to serve at least 85% of his custodial sentence before he would be eligible for parole.

Cases like this one often hinge on the credibility of accomplice testimony. In these situations, experienced criminal defense attorneys may pay close attention to the discovery process. What is known as the Brady rule requires prosecutors to disclose potentially exculpatory evidence to defendants and their lawyers, and the material they turn over often includes items that might be used to cast doubt on the reliability of witnesses who have entered into plea bargains.