CITY OF PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — A Chesterfield man has been found guilty of first-degree murder after shooting at a man ten times in a Petersburg public park, then twice with a shotgun in the face and torso.
On April 26, Jimmy Lee Merhout was found guilty of first-degree murder, using a firearm in the commission of a felony, ten counts of attempting to shoot the victim, 74-year-old Willie Noise III, while murdering him and one county of perjury in the Circuit Court for the City of Petersburg.
The prosecution brought forward witnesses who were there at the scene on June 6, 2021, and saw the killing and the events that led to it.
The former magistrate that the defendant was convicted of lying during the events leading up to the murder also testified, according to the Petersburg Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.
According to the court findings, Merhout fired his pistol at the victim ten times in Patton Park off University Boulevard, then shot at him twice with a shotgun in the face and torso. Before that, the defendant was said to have attempted to obtain a warrant, claiming the victim had put a gun to his head after the victim had asked the defendant to slow down while driving through the park.
The defense presented three witnesses, according to the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office. One of the witnesses saw the shooting. The defendant also testified and said he killed the victim in self-defense.
The judge found the defendant’s testimony contradicted photographs of the crime scene that had been presented earlier in the trial. Court findings showed blood spatter patterns inside the defendant’s vehicle, the location of the victim’s body where he died and his earlier statements in the presence of and directly to police the day of the killing itself were contradictory.
The court ruled the defendant’s provocative attitude towards the victim in the hours before the killing rendered the defendant’s claim of self-defense unjustified and the court did not find any credible evidence that the defendant retreated before killing the victim. The defense’s witness to the shooting was also found to be not credible.
The sentencing will begin on June 23. The CA’s Office said first-degree murder charges carry a sentence of 20 years to life in prison.