Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Guilty Plea in Slaying Accused Accomplice Still on Trial in Folkston

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Guilty Plea in Slaying Accused Accomplice Still on Trial in Folkston

Article excerpt

FOLKSTON -- While the trial of a Hilliard man accused of fatally

shooting his stepmother continued in Folkston yesterday, court

documents were filed showing his co-defendant pleaded guilty to

the same charges and was sentenced to life in prison Friday.

The document showed Shannon Suanne Yeoman was convicted on two

of the six counts for which she was accused in connection with

the death of Sharon Varndore Chancey, 43, of Blackshear.

Yeoman, 19, of Fernandina Beach, Fla. and James Allyson Lee

were accused of malice murder, felony murder, kidnapping, armed

robbery, theft by taking and possession of a firearm during a

felony. Lee, 22, faces an additional charge of possession of a

firearm by a convicted felon.

Records do not show what charges Superior Court Judge Stephen

Jackson found Yeoman guilty of committing. Court officials and

attorneys said they could not discuss the guilty plea because of

a gag order, which bans court and law enforcement officials from

discussing the case.

Court records show Lee told authorities Yeoman lured Chancey to

an isolated area near her Blackshear home claiming Lee had car

trouble.

Lee is the first person in 50 years to face the death penalty

in Charlton County.

As testimony continued yesterday at the Charlton County

Courthouse, witnesses testified how he confessed about his role

in the shooting death of his stepmother.

Joe Moody, a officer for the Lake City Police Department,

played a cassette tape to jurors, where he said Lee admitted he

shot Chancey because he wanted to steal his father's pickup

truck.

"I shot her and I killed her," Lee said in what authorities

said was a tape-recorded confession taken shortly after his

capture on May 26, 1994. "I put her in the truck. . . I feel

like I'm in a movie. I'm scared."

Lee's attorneys have not commented on whether he committed the

crimes. Instead, the defense they outlined on the trial's first

day focused on whether the death occurred in Charlton County. If

not, they told jurors, the prosecutor did not have jurisdiction

and asked them to acquit. …

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