St. Louis man convicted in murder over drug debt

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ST. LOUIS – A St. Louis man pleaded guilty Friday to a second-degree murder charge in a man’s shooting death several years ago, which stemmed from drug debt.

Investigators say Benjamin Chatman, now 35, shot Gregory Jordan, then 35, in St. Louis’ Hamilton Heights neighborhood on Sept. 7, 2015. The two were involved in an argument over a drug debt prior to the shooting.

According to court documents, Chatman fled to New York after the shooting, where U.S. Marshals later arrested him. In his initial statement to police, Chatman denied shooting Jordan. He also claimed he had moved to Buffalo and was living there at the time of the shooting.

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Chatman was originally convicted of first-degree murder and armed criminal action in 2017, but he appealed the decision. Last year, a St. Louis circuit court judge vacated the convictions and determined that Chatman’s trial lawyer had misinformed him about Missouri’s sentencing law.

Chatman pleaded guilty in the death on Friday. In exchange, prosecutors amended the first-degree murder charge to second-degree murder, and dismissed one count of armed criminal action. He is expected to be sentenced to 25 years in prison.

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