A Richmond man pleaded guilty yesterday to shooting a Virginia Union University student during a brawl on campus last summer.

Jimar Lee Jewell, 22, pleaded guilty in Richmond Circuit Court to malicious wounding and use of a firearm in a felony in connection with the early-morning shooting Aug. 30.

As part of a plea agreement, Richmond Chief Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Tracy Thorne-Begland withdrew a charge of aggravated malicious wounding and agreed not to endorse a prison sentence of more than 10 years to serve.

Jewell, a nephew of City Councilman E. Martin Jewell, still faces up to 23 years in prison when he is sentenced June 11.

The councilman did not attend yesterday's hearing.

The shooting occurred shortly before 1 a.m. during a large fight on the campus. The victim, Eric Suggs, who is no longer a student at VUU, was shot in the thigh and ankle. He has recovered.

Suggs, now 21, told police that before the shooting, an argument involving one of his friends erupted during or after a party on Chamberlayne Avenue. Suggs and some acquaintances later went to the campus, where they heard that someone was talking about coming there and "shooting it up," according to a police report.

Jimar Jewell was at his home on West Lancaster Street in Richmond when some people he knew told him they were "beefing" with some VUU students, Thorne-Begland said. "The defendant volunteered to accompany them back to campus to settle the score," the prosecutor said.

Jewell later told authorities that he started shooting when he saw Suggs lift up his shirt during the brawl, according to the police report.

"It's a further message to the people around Richmond that alcohol and firearms are just a bad combination," said defense attorney Cary B. Bowen, who said Jewell had been drinking before the incident.

Police captured Jewell off Lancaster Street. Authorities said an investigator combing the area looked inside a trashcan and found the .40-caliber handgun that was used in the shooting.


Contact Reed Williams at (804) 649-6332 or rwilliams@timesdispatch.com.

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