A Yazoo man charged with fatally shooting his lifelong friend was found not guilty of murder by a jury last week.
A jury reached their verdict last Thursday, stating that Eric Alton Lee accidentally shot Eric Rodgers on Feb. 18, 2015.
The shooting occurred at 347 West Sixth Street. Rodgers was taken to Baptist Medical Center Yazoo with one gunshot wound to his chest.
Rodger was later pronounced dead at the local hospital.
“Eric Lee came to the police department and admitted that he had been involved in the shooting,” Police Chief Jeff Curtis said, in a previous interview. “He said it had been an accidental shooting.”
Following the shooting, investigators talked with several witnesses, who also said it was an accidental shooting.
“We never received any accounts that there had been an altercation or an argument between the two men, prior to the shooting,” Curtis said.
Curtis said the two men were “playing around” when the victim was shot in the chest.
“The shooter was unfamiliar with the gun and its safety features,” Curtis said. “These two men were friends who had grown up together. This is a very sad and unfortunate situation.”
The trial began this week with Lee’s defense team arguing that the shooting was an accident, not murder.
“The two eyewitnesses to the shooting...cousins to the deceased, consistently stated that the death of Eric Rodgers was the result of an accidental shooting,” court records said.
Another witness present at the time of the shooting “stated that Eric Rodgers and Eric Lee were best friends and that there was no argument between the two men the day of the incident.”