Man pleads to lesser charge in death of Charlotte business owner - | WBTV Charlotte

Man pleads to lesser charge in death of Charlotte business owner

(Michael Clark | WBTV) (Michael Clark | WBTV)

The man accused of murder in the January death of Charlotte business owner Jesse Campbell pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter Thursday afternoon.

Kevin Dejesus, 22, was sentenced to 12 years in prison. After his release, Dejesus will be deported back to Honduras, because he was living in the United States illegally, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors read surprising new details about what led up to the shooting of Campbell. The 64-year-old ran Campbell's Greenhouses in Charlotte and was well known in the community.

After an investigation, deputies discovered Campbell would hire some of his workers to do side jobs around his Lake Wylie home. 

Dejesus told police that he went to Campbell's home to collect money that he was owed. Instead, Dejesus said Campbell was partially undressed and attempted to engage in sexual activity before any payments.

"Mr. Campbell did, it appears on more than one occasion, have young Hispanic men who worked for him that he would refuse to pay unless they performed sexual favors with him," said Deputy Solicitor Willy Thompson.

Harry Dest, Dejesus' public defender, said Campbell lived a "double life."

"He was in a position of authority and influence and could control some of these young men that worked for him," said Dest.

Once at Campbell's home, Dejesus told officers that Campbell at one point had a gun. Dejesus said there was a struggle and admitted that he eventually shot and killed Campbell.

During initial interviews following his arrest, Dejesus denied any involvement in the crime.

Lawyers from both sides agreed that voluntary manslaughter was a more appropriate charge, stating it was a crime that occurred in the heat of passion.

Due to Dejesus' immigration status, he will be deported after his sentence. Dest said Dejesus and his family came to Charlotte from Honduras, where he said Dejesus wanted to escape gangs.

"The plea was very tragic that it ended this way, because he really wanted to live in the United States and avoid that type of environment for himself and his family," Dest said.

Campbell's family declined to speak with reporters on camera after the plea deal.

Campbell's brother was among the loved ones in court Thursday. He told WBTV that he felt some closure after the plea and believed justice was served.

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