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'This is justice': Man convicted of murder at 14 to walk free 20 years later

Kentay Lee.JPG
Kentay Lee was convicted of murder two decades ago when he was only 14-years-old. Soon, he will be released from jail. (Photo credit: WSOC)

A man convicted of murder two decades ago will soon be released from jail.

ABC affiliate WSOC reports Kentay Lee was in the courtroom Monday morning. He was a far cry from the teenager who was sentenced 20 years ago to life in prison without parole.

He was only 14 when he and another 14-year-old beat and killed Edward Mingo inside a public housing project in uptown Charlotte during a drunken party on New Year’s Eve in 1998.

Nine days later, Lee told detectives he’d lost control and attacked when Mingo began making sexual advances.

"I’m like, ‘Terrence, I’m fixing to get him,’” Lee said during his confession. “So, I just, I just ran at him, then put him in a chokehold as hard as I could and started choking him, and Terrence cut him.”

When a detective asked Lee why he wanted to "get him," he responded, “Because he, he had been, he’d been messing with me all night, and I was scared. You know what I’m saying?”

A year later, the other teenager took the prosecutors’ plea offer for second-degree murder and was sentenced to 18 years in prison. He’s since been released.

But prosecutors never made that same offer to Lee. A jury found him guilty of first-degree murder, which came with a mandatory life sentence.

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