A 20-year-old man will likely spend the remainder of his life in prison after a Twin Cities jury convicted him of murder Thursday, despite his protests that police and prosecutors had the wrong man.
The man faced first-degree and second-degree murder charges in connection with the shooting death of a woman, also 20. The jury found him guilty after about a day of deliberation. A Ramsey County judge immediately sentenced him to life in prison with no possibility of parole.
From what authorities have pieced together, it seems the woman was tragically caught in the middle of a dispute between two of the Twin Cities’ most notorious gangs. Prosecutors theorized that she was killed because an acquaintance had spread rumors that the deceased woman had a hand in a February 2012 killing, which was also gang-related.
The man’s legal defense stressed that witnesses at the scene of the murder identified the apparent shooter at light-skinned; the defendant has a dark complexion. It was also pointed out that there were several other plausible suspects and, apparently, some holes in the prosecution’s theory.
Even with the conviction, the man maintains that he is innocent and did not kill the woman.
As this story shows, we all lose when gang-related violence is allowed to thrive in our community. Disputes cannot be handled with physical aggression; this only leads to senseless bloodshed and a wounded society.
The man has the right to appeal his conviction, but he has not yet said whether he intends to do so.
Source: Star Tribune, “20-year-old found guilty of fatally shooting woman in SUV, sentenced to life in prison,” Chao Xiong, June 13, 2013