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St. Louis man avoids retrial through plea deal in murder case

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ST. LOUIS – A man charged with murder realized after he was sentenced that he would be sent to life in prison without parole. He claimed that his lawyer did not tell him he was facing a life sentence when he went on trial.

Circuit Judge Bryan Hettenbach annulled Benjamin A. Chatman’s, 35, conviction of life in prison after finding that his lawyer had provided incorrect advice about the sentencing law for murder.

Chatman, 35, had been convicted in 2017 but claimed he was not informed about the life without parole sentence; he thought he would be getting a maximum of 20 years behind bars.

Chatman’s lawyer testified in a hearing in 2021, admitting that he misinformed his client. To avoid a second trial, Chatman took a plea bargain of 20 years in prison on December 1.

Chatman pleaded guilty to the murder of 35-year-old Gregory Jordan. The fatal shooting occurred on September 7, 2015, in the 1400 block of Shawmut Place in the city’s Hamilton Heights neighborhood. The shooting happened over a dispute involving drugs and money.

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