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21-year-old charged in young mother's death in south St. Louis found guilty

Joyce Freeman, 20, was shot and killed in November 2020, just days after her baby was born.
Credit: Family of Joyce Freeman
Joyce Freeman

ST. LOUIS — A jury returned a guilty verdict for a 21-year-old linked to a 2020 murder of a new mother in south St. Louis' Dutchtown neighborhood. 

On Thursday, Steven Washington was convicted of first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree assault, unlawful use of a weapon, and three counts of armed criminal action. His initial trial in September ended with a mistrial amid unanimous verdicts. 

On the morning of Nov. 23, 2020, 20-year-old Joyce Freeman was found inside a car with a gunshot wound in the 3900 block of South Broadway. She later died at a local hospital.

READ: 2 more teens charged in shooting death of young mother in St. Louis

Credit: SLMPD
Steven Noah Washington, 21, was convicted of first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree assault, unlawful use of a weapon and three counts of armed criminal action.

Police said the shooting happened a few blocks away on Minnesota Avenue, the same block where Freeman lived.

According to the probable cause statement previously obtained by 5 On Your Side, Freeman was preparing to head to a doctor's appointment, with her 4-day-old son and boyfriend, when a Nissan Sentra drove by and fired shots at their car.

The victims tried to drive away from the area when the Nissan reappeared on Broadway. Two people were hanging out of the passenger side windows and continued firing shots at the victims’ car. 

Freeman's son and boyfriend were not injured in the shooting.

Washington's sentencing is slated for Dec. 9. 

Deyontez Huntley, 21, and Eric Williams, 19, were also charged in connection to Freeman's death. 

Resources for crime victims:

If you have been a victim of a crime or know someone who has been, 5 On Your Side has compiled a list of resources.

Better Family Life is a nonprofit community development organization working to "stabilize inner-city neighborhoods." One aspect of its mission is a gun violence de-escalation program.

Life Outside of Violence "helps those harmed by stabbing, gunshot or assault receive the treatment, support and resources they need to find alternatives to end the cycle of violence."

The Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis has an anti-crime program called “Safety Net for Youth Initiative,” which is a joint partnership with St. Louis Public Schools to provide services to at-risk youth.

Cure Violence is an international organization that has recently launched in a handful of St. Louis neighborhoods. Violence interrupters are trained to deescalate violent situations within their own communities. 


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