Man Pleads Guilty To Jones County School Shooting

A guilty plea comes two years and one day after a shooting outside a Jones Senior High School basketball game.

James Cuthbertson pleaded guilty this afternoon in a Jacksonville courtroom.

He was sentenced to 17-1/2 to 22 years, and given credit for the two years already served behind bars. Cuthbertson will also have to pay $11,000 in restitution.

Cuthbertson admitted killing 23-year-old Shamel Baker in the high school parking lot after the game when a fight broke out.

In court, prosecutors say Baker was shot in the back, with the bullet going all the way through his chest. They say before the shooting, Cuthbertson was removed from the game for acting unruly and later admitted to shooting Baker.

Prosecutors say evidence shows the two men were part of gangs, while Cuthbertson's lawyer says the man acted in self defense, believing Baker also had a gun.

In court, Cuthbertson apologized to the victim's family. "I don't want people to think of me as a killer, I am a man of god, and thank my parents. I only wanted to protect myself that night. I was protecting my brothers and sisters."

The New Bern man also pleaded guilty to two unrelated robbery charges that happened in Craven County.


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  • by Joshua Cuthbertson Location: New Bern on Apr 13, 2011 at 10:56 AM
    you are a man of god big brother. you had to protect us that night and yourself. our parents raised us well and that night you had to defend yourself and brothers and sister. the other people commenting dont know the whole story. i love you big brother and see you soon
  • by Daryl Turner Location: Pink Hill on Dec 2, 2008 at 04:57 PM
    Jesus stands at the front door of every jail in North Carolina. Why at the front door? Because that is where most prisoners pick Him up and drop Him when they get out of jail. Praise God that this man found the Lord while in jail. He will be able to preach to other prisoners for at least the next 17 and a half years.
  • by Annie Nonomus Location: Greenville on Dec 2, 2008 at 01:46 PM
    Thou shall not commit murder. Plenty of these hoodlums and gangsters "Get God" when they think that will be a way out of jail. Surprised he didn't use the "I was abused" or "I had no father figure" ploys.
  • by Dwayne Location: Greenville on Dec 2, 2008 at 12:42 PM
    What god is the man of? Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not steal. Maybe he developed a relationship with Christ after the events. Hope so.
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