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Man convicted of Russian roulette-style killing in Fresno County

Prosecutor on Russian roulette-style killing: 'The victim was not playing...it was a game of one'
Man convicted of killing friend in Russian roulette-style shooting, faces 40 years in prison

Terrance Lee released the revolver’s pin, pushed the cylinder out and tilted the gun up and let all the bullets but one fall out. He then snapped it back in, spun the cylinder and pulled back the hammer.

“Let’s see how fast you can run,” Lee said, the revolver’s barrel aimed at his friend’s chest.

Lee pulled the trigger – click – but nothing happened. So again Lee released the cylinder, spun it, snapped it back in and cocked the hammer. This time, there was a bullet in the chamber.

Almost two years to the day from that September 2012 incident, Lee, now 20, will be sentenced in the killing of his 18-year-old friend Marquis Sutton, a standout football player at Edison High School in Fresno County. 

“It wasn’t Russian roulette in the sense that we had a group of young people saying, 'Let’s play,'” Fresno County Senior Deputy Dist. Atty. Stephanie Savrnoch said. “The victim was not playing, he was pleading for him to stop. If [Lee] was playing, it was a game of one.”

On Monday, Lee was convicted of second-degree murder with an enhancement for using a gun in Sutton’s killing. He’s scheduled to be sentenced to as long as 40 years to life in prison Sept. 23.

The defense team tried to convince the jury that Lee has a learning disability and was not aware that what he was doing was inherently dangerous to human life, Savrnoch said.

According to prosecutors, Lee had invited Sutton and two others over that September evening to hang out. When they arrived, for some unknown reason, Lee pulled out the gun and began the deadly game of chance.

Sutton had recently injured his leg and walked with a limp, Savrnoch said. After Lee pulled the trigger the first time, Sutton tried to flee, she said. Sutton made it to the door when Lee shot him in the neck.

In a panic, Lee carried the dying Sutton out onto the sidewalk about 150 feet from his apartment where a bystander would find him and call 911. Lee initially told police Sutton was the victim of a drive-by shooting. The other people in the apartment, along with Lee, eventually told police what really happened. 

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Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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