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Air Force veteran gets 25-year sentence in killing he says was in self-defense

By JOEL CURRIER | St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Published: October 20, 2018

ST. LOUIS (Tribune News Service) — Christopher Endicott shared tearful hugs and fist bumps with relatives in the courtroom Friday before sheriff's deputies led him away in handcuffs.

"It's OK. It's OK," he whispered to relatives through tears.

He had just been sentenced to 25 years in prison for gunning down a man on a Soulard parking lot 2½  years ago in a dispute over giving the intoxicated victim a ride in an SUV.

Endicott, 27, who was found guilty of second-degree murder and armed criminal action by a jury in July, was sentenced Friday by Circuit Judge Jason Sengheiser for the crimes.

Endicott killed Jarrett Greene, 37, on the parking lot of Mollys in Soulard on March 3, 2016, and claimed self-defense because Greene had an unloaded pistol in his pocket and had racked it shortly before the shooting.

On Friday, Endicott sobbed in court, apologized for his actions and said he wished he could change what happened that night.

"I wish I'd had my wits about me," he told the court. "I wish I could have been thinking faster on my feet, and just gotten out of there."

Endicott fired a .45-caliber pistol at Greene about 1:40 a.m. in the 800 block of Geyer Avenue after Endicott and his friends left the 1860 Saloon in Soulard. Greene was shot at least 10 times, including six in the back after he had fallen to the pavement.

Endicott claimed self-defense but was convicted at his second trial in July. At his first in March, a jury voted 11-1 to acquit Endicott but could not return a unanimous verdict, resulting in a mistrial.

At the second trial, First Assistant Circuit Attorney Robert Steele focused heavily on a surveillance video of the killing and Endicott's statements to police before detectives revealed the killing was caught on camera. Steele said Endicott's self-defense claim was one of multiple lies told to police.

The shooting followed an argument over whether Greene could hitch a ride with Endicott and his friends in a Honda CR-V. As the Honda backed out of the lot, Endicott stepped out and "swaggered" over to Greene's body to make sure he was dead, Steele said at trial.

Endicott's lawyer Terry Niehoff said at both trials that Endicott was defending himself and feared for his life after Greene racked a 9 mm Glock and said "I trump you!" Endicott got a pistol from the CR-V's glove box, and when Greene tried to get in the back seat of the SUV, Endicott walked around the back of the CR-V, pointed it at Greene and opened fire after Greene swatted at the gun.

Endicott and his friends drove off and met at Endicott's father's house before heading to police headquarters and turning over Endicott's gun. None of them called 911 to report the shooting, and Steele said the meetup was to match stories before speaking to investigators.

Police found Greene facedown with two empty ammunition magazines, a digital scale, cocaine and an unloaded pistol in the pockets of his black trench coat; they also found a $20 bill in one hand and a cigarette lighter in the other.

Endicott is a 2009 graduate of Lindbergh High School and served in the Air Force from April 2012 to September 2013, records say. Endicott plans to appeal the conviction.

On Friday, Steele asked the judge for a 25-year sentence, adding that Endicott has refused to turn over military records that would detail an earlier assault case.

Before the judge sentenced Endicott, Greene's mother and aunt spoke of their heartache over Greene's death.

"Tears are falling all over the place, and the tears falling in our heart will always fall," Greene's aunt Lovely Deloch said. "My hope is that we can wake up one day and not feel the pain that Christopher Endicott has caused."

His mother, Miriam Greene, said that were firearms not present, the dispute might have been resolved, at worst, by a fistfight.

"The worst part for me is thinking of my son's body, lying and bleeding in an empty parking lot in the dark, all alone," she said.

Greene was single with no children and had worked for years at St. Louis-area restaurants as a busser, server and bartender, friends and relatives have said. He was the middle of three brothers and had attended Bethel Lutheran School before dropping out and getting his GED.

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