Homicide

DOUBLE HOMICIDE, HENNEPIN COUNTY 
2006
Jury Verdict: CLIENT CONVICTED OF A LESSER OFFENSE
My client shot two men in the back as they fled from a house where my client and some of his friends had gathered after a night on the town. The men had committed a home invasion. After a six-day trial, my client was found guilty of a lesser offense than the original charge of intentional second-degree homicide. The judge granted my client a downward departure at sentencing.

MURDER TRIAL, TEN “EYE” WITNESSES, RAMSEY COUNTY 
1993
Jury Verdict: NOT GUILTY
In 1993, a young man was shot in the throat as he stood in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant in St. Paul. He ran across University Avenue and died in the pump area of a gas station. About 150 people were present in the parking lot. Ten of those testified at the trial. All testified my client had shot the young man. However, after a two-week trial and two days of deliberations, the jury acquitted the defendant of all charges. (This was my first trial as a lawyer in private practice. I had had 11 years of experience, mostly as a NAVY JAGC trial lawyer. When I was hired, I immediately sought help with the case. I went to Bruce H. Hanley. Bruce was my ‘mentor.’ I had been his law clerk when I attended law school. Bruce is the best lawyer I know. Although my client had little money, Bruce immediately said he would sign on as lead counsel. We divided up the work. At trial, I did the opening statement and half of the witnesses. Bruce did closing argument and half of the witnesses. Our client was acquitted. For this, and for many other things, I am forever grateful to Bruce.)

MURDER/ATTEMPTED MURDER TRIALS, BLACKDUCK, MINNESOTA (ITASCA COUNTY) 1996
Jury Verdict: NOT GUILTY
In 1994, my client, a retired African American Chicago police officer, who had moved to Blackduck, MN, took his service revolver from his bedside table, placed it on the forehead of his girlfriend, a local white woman, and pulled the trigger. The woman survived. At trial, she testified against my client and showed the jury the hole in her forehead. My client testified, telling the jury that he had acted in self-defense. The jury found my client not guilty of all five counts against him. In 1996, I was hiking on the island of Kauai. I got a call on my cell phone. It was my client. He was in jail, accused of killing the same woman. She had invaded his home, armed with a .22 caliber rifle. He had shot her five times with a .44 caliber magnum Ruger. He had shot her once in the hand, three times in the back, and once in the back of the head at point blank range. At trial, my client testified. A jury found my client not guilty of all charges. He testified he had acted in self-defense. While these results seem shocking, in each case the jury fulfilled their oaths. If the trial transcripts were read, these results would seem reasonable and proper.

HOMICIDE TRIAL, RAMSEY COUNTY, 1993
Jury Verdict: NOT GUILTY
My client was charged with shooting a man to death at a fast-food restaurant at University and Lexington Avenues in St. Paul. Ten (10) eyewitnesses testified that my client stood in the parking lot and shot the man in the throat. The jury found my client not guilty of all charges. My friend and mentor, Bruce H. Hanley, was kind enough to be my co-counsel in this trial.

ATTEMPTED HOMICIDE TRIAL, ITASCA COUNTY, 1994
Jury Verdict: NOT GUILTY
My client shot his girlfriend in the forehead, execution-style. She survived and testified against my client. The jury found my client not guilty of all charges. The defense was self-defense.

HOMICIDE TRIAL, ITASCA COUNTY, 1996
Jury Verdict: NOT GUILTY
My client shot his estranged girlfriend several times in the back. The jury found my client not guilty of all charges. The defense was self-defense.

HOMICIDE TRIAL, RAMSEY COUNTY, 1998
Jury Verdict: NOT GUILTY
We waived a jury in this case. A charge of intentional second degree murder was dismissed after we challenged it. The judge found my client not guilty of second-degree unintentional homicide, but guilty of criminal vehicular homicide, negligence.