Jameson Mitchell

A Yankton man suspected of murder has been sentenced to over a century in prison.

Last week, Jameson Mitchell was sentenced to 124 years in prison for the shooting death of Lucas Smith, also of Yankton.

Mitchell, 22, had pleaded not guilty in April to a charge of first-degree homicide as murder in the death of Smith, 24, but changed his plea on Sept. 19, in conjunction with a plea deal.

Mitchell’s sentence does include the possibility of parole, according to Erich Johnke, deputy state’s attorney for Yankton County.

On April 6, 2019, the Yankton Police Department was called to the downtown area for a report of a male with a gunshot wound. According to court documents, there had been an altercation inside Mojo’s between Mitchell, Smith and Jamie White, a woman, whose connection to the incident was not mentioned in the court documents.

Police said that surveillance video of the altercation showed Mitchell approached Smith in the game room at Mojo’s and, soon after, appeared to push him. Lucas pushed back and a fight ensued. The three were removed from the premises where the argument continued and was broken up again.

According to a witness, Smith and Mitchell came into contact one last time in a nearby alley where Lucas was shot by an armed Mitchell who was walking down the alley pointing the gun in front of him.

Mitchell was arrested that night for aggravated assault and murder in the first degree.

A statement from Smith’s father, Chris Smith, was submitted to the court at the September hearing.

“I cannot put into words the paralyzing feeling of confusion and panic you experience when you hear those words over the phone, ‘Shot? What do you mean shot?’ as the reality and seriousness of the situation sink in,” Smith said. “After several surgeries to save my son’s life from the bullet that ripped through his heart and organs, we were approached by the attending doctor, ‘I am sorry but your son is not going to make it. Please take this time to see him and say goodbye.’”

Lucas Smith died on his 24th birthday.

“We live this nightmare every day,” his father said. “When being told of the offer to reduce the charge of first-degree murder down to manslaughter, I was, to say the least, greatly offended and hurt.”

The judge accepted the plea agreement and Mitchell’s guilty plea.

Mitchell, who was sentenced in a Yankton court by Judge Cheryle Gering, will serve out his sentence in the South Dakota State Penitentiary.

As of this writing, official documentation of Mitchell’s sentence had not yet been filed with the court.

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