In an act that an attorney for the defendant called rare, a sequestered jury in St. Paul deliberated for three days before acquitting a man accused of aiding and abetting in a murder.
This was likely because the accused was not the one who committed the actual crime, and the evidence may not have proven satisfactory to the jurors of the intent of the crime. The deliberation resulted in a split decision making a later retrial a possibility.
The charges against the accused included aiding and abetting a second-degree murder while committing a drive-by shooting, aiding and abetting unintentional murder, and a lesser count of aiding an offender. The first two counts were directly related to the actual act of murder, while the third count related to the defendant’s alleged actions following the fatal shooting.
The man that was acquitted for aiding and abetting was not in a gang, although the men who were involved in the shooting were. According to his attorney, there was no evidence his client knew the shooting was going to occur. The defendant also told police that he had left the shooting which would imply that he had not been helping his shooter.
Regardless of if the person being tried was the person who shot the gun or is accused of helping the shooter, violent crime charges are extremely serious and can come with lifelong consequences. It is extremely important to work with a criminal defense attorney from the very beginning of an investigation in order to best protect the basic rights everyone in Minnesota has.
Source: Star Tribune, “Ramsey County jury take 3 days for split verdict,” Joy Powell, Feb. 3, 2013
When it comes to violent crimes, juries are often quick to convict and judges tend to impose harsh sentences. Learn more about defending against criminal charges like murder by visiting our website.