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Raymond Antonio Hunter, acquitted, and Rojai R. Jackson, pleaded guilty

Raymond Antonio Hunter (left), of St. Louis, was found not guilty by a St. Louis jury in November 2019. He and Rojai R. Jackson, of Berkeley, were charged with second-degree murder and armed criminal action in the death of a man who was shot to death behind a Berkeley restaurant. Jackson pleaded guilty and was sentenced in March to 25 years in prison.

CLAYTON — A St. Louis man was acquitted Wednesday in a 2016 homicide in Berkeley.

After about 90 minutes of deliberation, a St. Louis County jury found Raymond A. Hunter, 28, not guilty in the May 19, 2016, shooting death of Walter Miller.

Miller, 57, of Bel-Ridge, was fatally shot about 1 p.m. behind Nephew's Grill, at 8624 Frost Avenue. Police have said Miller worked part-time for the restaurant by cleaning up its parking lot. A manager of the grill told the Post-Dispatch in 2016 that Miller would walk from storefront to storefront in the neighborhood, singing and asking business owners if he could do odd jobs for cash.

Hunter stood trial on counts of second-degree murder and armed criminal action. A co-defendant, Rojai Jackson, 28, was sentenced to 25 years in prison in March after pleading guilty to the same charges.

Defense lawyer Jemia Steele said Wednesday that Hunter, a nephew of Jackson, had accompanied his girlfriend and child to the restaurant that day to meet Jackson. Steele said Hunter thought Jackson was there only to get some marijuana, not to shoot anyone. She said it was Jackson who shot Miller once in the pelvic area, killing him, and that there was no drug deal after all.

"Hunter was unaware of Rojai's motives that day," Steele said. "He had no idea what Rojai was going to do. He was merely present at the scene."

Hunter lived in 1300 block of South Tucker Boulevard in St. Louis.

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