Birmingham man pleads guilty in deadly Huntsville robbery

A young man from Birmingham pleaded guilty in the Huntsville robbery that led to the death of his suspected accomplice, authorities said.

Lamontez Dearius James pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of second-degree robbery and prosecutors dropped a murder charge, court records show.

James, a 21-year-old from Birmingham, was sentenced to 10 years, according to the plea agreement. The sentence was split for James to serve two years in prison and four years on probation, records show. Because James will get credit for 680 days he spent in jail awaiting trial, he can finish his two-year sentence within a couple of months.

James was charged in the shooting death of 20-year-old Cameron Cullen. Madison County Assistant District Attorney Melvin Lockett said Cullen was fatally shot by a man whom Cullen and James were trying to rob. It happened March 26, 2017 during a marijuana deal outside Twickenham Apartments on Galaxy Way in northwest Huntsville.

James, Cullen and another man met in Cullen’s car, Lockett said. Cullen and the other man were armed and fired at each other when James tried to take off with the man’s money, authorities said. Cullen died days later at Huntsville Hospital, and the other man was injured. James was unharmed.

“Mr. James was the only one in the car who didn’t have a gun,” Lockett said. “Everyone in that car was young and dumb and stupid. I don’t think Mr. James intended anybody to get shot (or) die, let alone his friend.”

James was indicted last year on a charge of felony murder under Alabama’s accomplice liability law. The felony murder statute is regularly used to charge accomplices when a person dies while committing a felony act like robbery.

Lockett said because of the circumstances, he agreed to reduce James’ charge to robbery.

The plea agreement also requires James to pay a $4,000 fine and $1,000 victims compensation fee.

His defense attorneys didn’t return a call for comment.

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