LEBANON, Pa. (WHTM) — Almost four years have passed since James Jeter was shot and killed in Lebanon. Lindley Thelismond was 17 when he fired that shot. Last week, he was sentenced to life in prison.
“Now that defendant at the time of the homicide was 17 years old. He was from New York. He traveled to Lebanon County and he came here under gang protection and affiliation,” said Pier Hess Graf, Lebanon County District Attorney.
During the trial, a witness testified that he, the suspect, and the victim were all playing video games when a fight broke out and Jeter was shot.
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The witness said all three were members of the Crips gang.
“Even though JJ may have wanted to get out when you still surround yourself with the people and things that are affiliated with that lifestyle, it’s inherently dangerous,” Piers Hess Graf said.
District Attorney Pier Hess Graf and the victim’s family gathered at the Lebanon County Courthouse to talk about the devastating impact of gun violence on children and adolescents.
“If you know the right people and you have cash or you have drugs, these kids are finding ways to find firearms,” Graf said.
For Jeter’s mother, the pain is still as profound as the day it happened.
“I know it’s hard and I know I’ll never get my son back and the sad part about it is know he’s gone. I keep on saying he has life in prison so I won’t accept I will never see him again,” said Dusown Kennedy, mother of victim.
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Graf says the county got a $200,000 grant from a non-profit to invest in programs to fight gun violence.
“Every day we get better at this because criminals get smarter, they get sophisticated. We need to have the tools to combat that,” Graf said.