16-Year Sentence for Shooting Death in Centralia


Published on March 16 2018 8:19 am
Last Updated on March 16 2018 8:21 am
Written by Greg Sapp

A 31-year-old Mulberry Grove man has been sentenced to 16 years in prison for the Christmas Day 2015 shooting outside Party Liquors in Centralia.


Demetrice Lockett pleaded guilty in Marion County Court Wednesday to a reduced charge of 2nd-degree murder in exchange for the 1st-degree murder charge being dropped. The case was set to go to trial next Monday.

Assistant State's Attorney Melissa Doran told the court as the investigation progressed it became more apparent that Lockett had fired the shot that struck and killed 26-year-old Leroy Roberson Junior of Mt. Vernon in an effort to help a friend who was involved in an altercation outside the tavern.

Doran told Judge Mark Stedelin that Roberson's family was not pleased with the decision that the charge was dropped to second-degree murder.

Lockett's attorney Evelyn Lewis received the judge's agreement that the 2nd-degree murder count only required Lockett to serve 50 percent of the actual sentence.

Doran said the shooting occurred after Lockett had returned to his vehicle to get a gun for protection when a person he didn't get along with, 31-year-old Anthony Barnes of Centralia, had brandished a firearm towards him outside the tavern. At the same time, another man, Roosevelt McGee, tackled Barnes to the ground and Roberson had gone to Barnes' assistance. Doran reported the gunshot was fired to help McGee who was still on the ground.

Doran said the autopsy showed the gunshot had taken an unusual path, entering Roberson's buttocks and traveling to his heart causing the death.

Lockett was arrested the same night of the shooting and has been in the Marion County Jail since being taken into custody. He will get credit for time served. Once out of jail, Lockett will have to serve two years of mandatory supervised release.

Security was high in the courtroom and outside the courthouse during Lockett's court appearance.