CASA GRANDE — A man convicted of negligent homicide in the death of a Casa Grande area man is appealing his conviction.

Gabriel Huante, 34, was convicted by a jury last year in the 2016 death of Jerry D. Lee, 65, who was struck in the head with two cinder blocks and a rock outside his home in the Colonia del Sol neighborhood.

Huante was sentenced to nine years in prison with credit for 1,313 days served on June 22, 2020. He filed an appeal of his conviction with the Arizona Court of Appeals on July 2, 2020.

Huante took the witness stand during his trial and told a jury that he thought Lee had a gun and he feared for his life, so he threw the cinder blocks and rock at Lee.

Lee sustained facial and skull fractures. His roommate previously told PinalCentral he recalled Huante coming over that night and speaking with Lee outside. The roommate heard a scuffle before finding Lee lying at the bottom of the stairs. It was initially believed Lee had fallen down a small flight of steps.

Lee was treated at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix for his injuries and put on life support. He was taken off life support three days later when his condition had not improved, and he died later that day.

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Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa is a reporter covering the city of Casa Grande and the surrounding area, as well as Central Arizona College. She can be reached at sadams@pinalcentral.com.