Jury convicts Lemay murder suspect of beating girlfriend

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A Lemay man charged with murder in St. Louis city was found guilty by a St. Louis County jury in an unrelated case this week of felony domestic assault after allegedly beating his girlfriend in 2016, but was acquitted on gun charges.

Desmond Artez Mills, 33, has listed various addresses in court documents over the years, but at the time he was arrested for the county charges he lived in the 200 block of Etta Avenue in Lemay.

After a four-day trial this week, a jury convicted Mills of attacking his girlfriend from Dec. 4 to Dec. 5, 2016, at the house they shared on Etta Avenue.

The jury found Mills guilty of the two domestic assault charges, which allege he hit the woman on the head with a gun and also hit her with a tire iron. But the jury acquitted him on a charge of unlawful use of a weapon and another charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm for allegedly displaying a .45 caliber Glock in an “angry or threatening manner.”

Sentencing is set for April 13. Mills is currently in custody at the county Justice Center. A city judge ruled when Mills was arrested last year on the murder charge that no bond would be set.

Mills has a long criminal history and has previously served time in prison, according to court records. City prosecutors charged him last year with first-degree murder, armed criminal action, discharge or shooting of a firearm and unlawful possession of a firearm in a case unrelated to the alleged beating in Lemay.

In the Lemay case, Mills and the woman had been dating for more than a year when the incidents that led to the charges happened. On Dec. 3, 2016, Mills “repeatedly struck her with closed fists and a belt,” according to court records. The next day, she tried to escape when Mills tried to assault her again, but he dragged her back and ripped off her shoes and clothes while kicking and punching her.

He then hit her with a car jack, a vacuum cleaner and other objects, and dragged her up the stairs and hit her with a gun on the top of her head, according to the police account.

Mills put the gun to her head, told her to open her mouth and said he was going to kill her before assaulting her for several hours, police said.

Officers from the St. Louis County Police Department who responded to the scene found lacerations on her head, injuries to her wrist and back and blood throughout the house, according to court records.