Man pleads to murder in 2019 shooting death of teen in Muskegon

Muskegon County

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — A man has entered a plea in the 2019 shooting death of a 16-year-old boy at a party in Muskegon.

On Aug. 26, TJ Purnell pleaded no contest to second-degree murder in the death of Zamarian Cooper. The other charges against him were dismissed.

Purnell is scheduled to be sentenced on Thursday.

Zamarian Cooper
An undated courtesy photo of Zamarian Cooper.

Cooper was shot in the head late on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. Officers found him lying in an alley off Smith Street near E. Laketon Avenue, close to a Dollar General store. He later died at the hospital.

Cooper’s family said he was walking his sister home from the party when he was hit by the bullet.

In a news conference in August, investigators said that an argument erupted at the party, leading to gunfire from at least four shooters. Cooper happened to be in the line of fire.

A no contest plea is not an admission of guilt but is treated the same as any other conviction at sentencing.

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