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Jimeelah Crockett

A Baton Rouge woman whose self-defense claim in the 2017 shooting death of her boyfriend was contradicted by surveillance video was convicted Friday on second-degree murder.

Jimeelah Crockett, 28, now faces a mandatory term of life in prison in the slaying of Joseph Bunch III. State District Judge Bonnie Jackson will sentence her Dec. 4.

Surveillance video from the Ardendale Oaks apartment complex on North Lobdell Boulevard, where Crockett and Bunch lived, showed Bunch moving backward with his hands up and then turning to walk away as Crockett fired a single fatal shot on Aug. 20, 2017.

An East Baton Rouge Parish jury that found Crockett guilty was shown the video.

East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III, who said the case represents "another tragic loss of life of a victim to domestic violence," added that the video shows Bunch was "obviously no threat" to Crockett.

"Without the video, it would have been difficult for the State to disprove the defendant's claim that she shot her boyfriend in self-defense," he said in a written statement.

The jury's vote was 11-1.

Louisiana voters last fall ended nonunanimous jury verdicts for felonies happening on Jan. 1 of this year or later. The ballot measure did not make the change retroactive for crimes committed before Jan. 1.

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Bunch, 38, was shot in his back left shoulder. The bullet perforated his windpipe and left lung, according to trial testimony.

Assistant District Attorney Louise Hines told the jury that Crockett's self-defense claim was absurd. Hines said Crockett was the aggressor.

In her videotaped statement, which was played for the jury, Crockett told Baton Rouge police detectives that Bunch had been physical with her inside their apartment that night and that she shot him outside after he came at her with a raised hand as if he meant to hit her.

The gun, a 9 mm pistol, was found at the scene.

Crockett had a busted lip and minor scratches on her body when police arrived at the scene.

Her attorney, Hays Town, told the jury that Bunch had beaten Crockett on a previous occasion and that she "stood her ground and did not retreat any further" the night she shot her boyfriend. Town argued Bunch was the aggressor.

Crockett and Bunch shared a child.


Email Joe Gyan Jr. at jgyan@theadvocate.com.