Irving Lee

Irving Lucky Lee stands with public defenders Cruz Grey, left, and Patrick Pacific. (Photo by Mark Thornton)

 

A New Orleans man who was in a coma for almost a year was ordered to go to prison for 15 years after admitting to killing a man in Laurel four years ago.

Irving Lucky Lee, 36, whose given middle name is Lucky, pleaded guilty in Jones County Circuit Court to second-degree murder in the shooting death of William S. Cooley in the 1800 block of Lindsey Avenue on Easter night in April 2015. After serving his sentence in the full-time custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, he will have to spend five years on post-release supervision under MDOC and pay court fees and fines of $1,417.50. He will not be required to participate in the court’s community service program because of physical limitations.

“I don’t stay in Mississippi, I stay in New Orleans … Is there any way I can have my (required post-release supervision meetings) transferred to New Orleans?” Lee asked Judge Dal Williamson. 

The judge said he would have to work that out with MDOC officials. He warned Lee that he needed to comply with the requirements of his release and pay court fees or he will go back to prison to serve five more years.

“I get a check for my sickle-cell, so it’s no problem paying it back,” Lee said.

Cooley’s family was in agreement with the punishment, said Assistant District Attorney Dennis Bisnette and Victims’ Services Advocate Deborah Warren.

“The family had to agree or we wouldn’t have done this,” Bisnette said, “but it’s a good plea.”

Lee was facing up to 40 years in prison, or if a jury had found him guilty of second-degree murder, he could have been sentenced to life. Lee was represented by public defenders Cruz Gray and Patrick Pacific.

Laurel police were searching for Lee when they learned that he had been involved in a serious automobile accident in New Orleans in September 2015.

“I died on the interstate, and a few hours later, I died again, then I came back again,” Lee told the judge at a motion hearing in April. “I was in a coma for nine months.”

Lee’s attorneys asked that their client undergo a mental evaluation to find out if he was capable of going through a trial.

“His thoughts are disorganized and he’s confused, due to his medical history,” Pacific said at the hearing. “It makes it impossible to assist in his defense. I don’t feel comfortable pleading or going to trial.”

When Williamson questioned him, Lee said he didn’t remember what happened in Laurel or in the wreck in New Orleans.

“I don’t know nothing about Mississippi,” he said. “I lived in New Orleans all my life. They say I worked, but I don’t know where.” He’s been told about his family members, he said, “but I still don’t really know them.”

Lee did, however, remember that an “18-wheeler crossed over” in September 2015 and struck the vehicle he was in, killing at least one occupant. There is a civil case in Louisiana in that wreck.

Doctors determined that Lee was capable of going to trial, but Lee opted for a plea agreement.

It was believed that Lee “was going to be a paraplegic for life” after the wreck, Bisnette said at the hearing, but Lee was able to walk into the courtroom and has been housed in the Jones County Adult Detention Center for more than a year.

Lee and Cooley were in a dispute over a woman, Miyah Scott, both men had been involved with, according to reports. 

After identifying Lee as the shooter, LPD investigators later learned of the crash that Lee was in and were told that, if he survived, he would be bed-ridden for the rest of his life. 

But early last year, they got word that he was “down there causing more trouble,” then-Capt. Tommy Cox said. He was reportedly doing armed robberies on a bicycle. Lee was placed on the National Crime Information Center database and arrested in New Orleans a couple of months later. 

Lee did not agree to waive extradition and the LPD had to get a governor’s warrant to allow LPD investigators to go to Louisiana and bring him back to Mississippi to face charges.

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