LEXINGTON – (TNS) A young man charged with murder when he was a teenager for shooting and killing someone outside Fayette Mall was sentenced to 12 years in prison Thursday after he pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

Jessin Stateman, 21, of Danville, was sentenced by Fayette Circuit Judge Kimberly Bunnell to 12 years in prison. He was given years for manslaughter and five years for criminal mischief, which he also pleaded guilty to. Three of his five years for criminal mischief will run concurrent to his 10-year sentence for manslaughter, bringing his total sentence to 12 years.

Stateman faced charges of murder and first-degree criminal mischief after a deadly shooting in November 2020 that left 23-year-old Jermaine Barber dead. A jury trial took place in January, but the jurors came back deadlocked, unable to reach a verdict.

He accepted a plea agreement offered by prosecutors, amending his murder charge to second-degree manslaughter, according to Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Amanda Morgan.

‘I may never be forgiven for what happened’

Stateman’s attorney, Wayne Roberts, spoke before sentencing was imposed. He said while the situation cannot be corrected, Stateman was “remorseful that (Barber) was deceased.”

“I do believe he is a good man, and a situation happened that he did not know how to handle,” Roberts said.

Stateman also spoke on his own behalf, and said he was sorry, and if he could take back what happened, he would.

“I may never be forgiven for what happened, but I hope we can have some closure,” he said. “...This could have all been prevented if I was not engaged in the activity that led up to this point.”

He said he knew the sentence would give him time to “fix his way of thinking.”

Barber’s aunt, Janetta Barber, spoke at the hearing about her nephew and said he was “athletic, energetic and always supported his family.”

She said that unlike Stateman, Barber would never have the opportunity to go back and right any mistakes he may have made. She also questioned Stateman’s remorse.

“Being remorseful would not have allowed you to pull the trigger that many times,” she said. “There is no future for Jermaine. I am not asking that your life be taken away, but I am asking that the freedom to live your life be taken away.”

Judge: ‘Tough case, tough decision.’

Bunnell said in court Thursday that she wouldn’t miss the opportunity to go on her “anti-gun crusade” before imposing sentencing.

“People always ask me, ‘What is wrong in Fayette County (regarding gun violence)?’ Generally, it starts with drugs. It doesn’t have to be hard drugs. It can be marijuana,” she said. “Then it starts with people having guns.”

She said that everyone should be entitled to feel safe at Fayette Mall, where the shooting occurred.

She also said it was fortunate that the case was resolved in a plea after the jury came back hung in Stateman’s trial.

“Another trial could result in the same way — hung,” she said. “Tough case, tough decision.”

How shooting unfolded outside Fayette Mall

Stateman was arrested in November 2020 after an investigation into the shooting which began at Fayette Mall as a result of a drug deal gone wrong.

During court testimony, witnesses spoke and police interviews were shown with Stateman who alleged he and his then-girlfriend were at the mall to do a drug deal when a man, Barber, entered the car and attempted to rob the couple at gunpoint.

Testimony and video footage revealed Barber exiting the vehicle and walking away from the car when Stateman got out and shot Barber. In interviews with police, Stateman admitted to the police that Barber did not look back, shoot, or threaten to shoot once he left the vehicle.

Stateman said he still feared for his safety when he got out of the car and fired. He said he didn’t intend to shoot or kill Barber but felt he was defending himself.

But prosecutors argued during the trial that Stateman was guilty because he fired at Barber despite the fact that Barber got out of the car and walked away from Stateman.

Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Amanda Morgan told the jury before they went into deliberation that prosecutors did not hide from the fact that robbery was involved, but that their job was to look at the defendant’s choices — which included firing eight shots as Barber was walking away.