Man sentenced to at least 14 years in 2016 Catawba County murder

Man sentenced to at least 14 years in 2016 Catawba County murder

CATAWBA COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - A Claremont man will spend at least 14 years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in the Jan. 2016 shooting death of a Newton resident during a heavy snowstorm.

Marvin Jacob Lee, 29, was sentenced to 14 to 19 years in prison following his plea to the murder charge for the death of 26-year-old Jefferson Lee Heavner and two counts of discharging a weapon into an occupied vehicle.

Lee will serve his sentence in custody of the North Carolina Division of Adult Corrections.

He shot and killed Heavner during a heavy snowstorm that blanketed the area on Jan. 22, 2016.

According to the investigation by the Catawba County Sheriff's Office, Lee's vehicle stalled in the snow on Mathis Church Road in the Bandys community of southeast Catawba County, and Heavner stopped with some friends to help.

Witnesses indicated that the defendant appeared to be impaired, and one of them reached inside the car and took the keys out of the ignition.

When that happened, Lee exited the vehicle, pulled out a handgun and opened fire.

Several shots struck Heavner, causing him to fall in the snow before he was hit by more shots. Lee fired other shots into vehicles of those who stopped to help him.

Deputies arrived on scene and saw Lee apparently passed out in the vehicle. They took him out of the car and arrested him.

An autopsy revealed Heavner's cause of death to be a result of multiple gunshot wounds to his torso and extremities.

Heavner's mother, Lena Eidson, was one of several family members to address the court and the defendant.

"My boy is gone, and I can't bring him back. There's nothing done here today that can change that," she said. "In order for my life to go on without my little boy, I have to forgive, and I do. I forgive the person that took my son's life.

"I want justice to be done as much as the law will allow. I forgive you, Marvin Jacob Lee, and I will pray for your soul every day."

No further information was released in this case.

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