PRINCETON — After hearing words of forgiveness from his victim’s family, a man convicted of second-degree murder for the December 2017 death of a Princeton woman whose body was found in her apartment on Christmas Day was sentenced to more than 40 years in prison.
Roger Lee Lemons Jr., 46, was brought before Circuit Court Judge William Sadler for sentencing. A jury convicted Lemons in August of second-degree murder in the death of 33-year-old Angela Seal of 415 Mercer Street. Seal’s body was discovered on Christmas Day 2017 when a relative went to her apartment. Lemons was initially charged with first-degree murder.
Attorneys representing Lemons, William Huffman and David Kelley, made a motion for a new trial. They cited instances in which they believed the evidence was insufficient to convict their client or improperly obtained. Sadler denied the motion and proceeded with sentencing.
Prosecuting Attorney George Sitler, who represented the state with Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Janet Williamson, asked the court to impose the maximum 40-year sentence for second-degree murder.
Judge Sadler sentenced Lemons to 40 years in prison and one year in jail for violation of a protective order. Seal had taken out a protective order before her death.
Sitler later said Lemons would receive 611 days credit for the time he’s spent in jail since his arrest.
“He’s been incarcerated since Christmas 2017. If he got all his good time credit when he got out he’ll be 64 years old,” Sitler stated. “I think the jury, although they could easily have found premeditation and deliberation were present, I think they took some mercy on Mr. Lemons because this was in the context of a domestic dispute. There was some jealously involved, but certainly it was a horrible killing on Christmas Eve and it certainly merits a substantial penalty.”
Members of Seal’s family addressed the court before sentencing. Her aunt, Sherry Seal, said Angela was hopeful at first when she met Lemons.
“When Angela first met Roger she was full of hope. She talked about having babies and getting married, and she felt this was the man she would spend the rest of her life with. Then her conversation turned to fear and one thing in particular was when her little weenie dog was killed. The little dog’s name was Princess, and she really became frightened after that and that’s what brought about her getting the protective order,” Sherry Seal recalled.
“I really had a lot of hurt in my heart when this first happened. It was really, really hard,” Sherry Seal said. “As time when by, it’s been nearly two years Christmas Day, two years, I have found some forgiveness in my heart, I don’t look at Mr. Lemons with hatred anymore. I look at him with hurt because it is hurt; but I forgive him and I hope he is able to reach deep inside himself and find the good in there because we all have good in us.”
“He’s got wonderful, wonderful parents and they’ve lost their son today. There’s no winners. We’re all losers. She can’t come back and he’s lost a big chunk of his life,” she said. “But maybe some day he can come out and he can be a productive person in society and he can give his mother and father the honor that they deserve. They’re really good parents.”
Another aunt, Iris White, also spoke to Lemons before he was sentenced. Angela Seal’s death was not the first time domestic violence had hurt her family.
“I just had to let him know that I couldn’t forgive him yet. I can’t forgive Angie’s brother for killing his kids’ mother,” White said. “I can’t forgive my brother for shooting his wife and then himself. I just wanted him to know the hurt he’s caused both families and how it’s ripped them apart, but how it’s brought us together. I’m hoping and praying that God will let me get the forgiveness I need because until I can forgive them, I can’t move forward with my life.”
“I want him to write letters to my three kids, which are two of Angie’s nieces and nephew, to apologize and tell them why he did what he did, because they want that information from their own biological dad,” White said. “My son adopted those kids. He’s had them for six or seven years and he died in April…I just want to be able to forgive (Lemons) and he’s got wonderful, wonderful parents. I do wish he would have just walked away. None of us know what goes on in other people’s homes and hearts, but sometimes it takes a bigger man or a woman to walk away from a situation.”
When Sadler asked Lemons if he had anything he wished to say, Lemons replied, “No, sir.”
Lemons was remanded to the Southern Regional Jail pending his transfer to a state prison.
After the sentencing, Sitler thanked Sgt. C Butler of the Princeton Police Department “for his very through investigation which made it possible to put a convincing case before a jury. I think that justice has been served.”
Contact Greg Jordan at firstname.lastname@example.org