A jury in Ramsey County District Court found a St. Paul man not guilty last week in the fatal shooting of a man during a scuffle at a liquor shop last year.
In the December 27 shooting death of Kenneth L. Davis Jr., 44, in St. Paul’s North End, Trinis Derrell Edwards, 50, was acquitted of second-degree murder with intent-not premeditated and second-degree murder without intent-while executing a felony.
Before reaching a decision, the jury debated for almost three and a half hours.
“While we are disappointed in the outcome of this case, we appreciate the jury’s work and accept their judgment,” said Dennis Gerhardstein, a spokesperson for the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office, in a statement this week. “Mr. Davis’ loss remains a tragedy, and our hearts go out to his family and friends.”
Edwards was represented by assistant Ramsey County public defender Leif Carlson, who said on Tuesday that Edwards “asserted self-defense immediately away.”
Carlson stated, “Fortunately, I think for Mr. Edwards, the booze store had pretty terrific footage.” “As a result, the jury was able to see the entire incident unfold as if they were eyewitnesses.” But it was difficult to see since Mr. Davis was dying there in front of your eyes.”
According to the criminal complaint, St. Paul police officers were dispatched to Big Discount Liquor at 945 Rice St. shortly before 10 p.m. on a report of a gunshot.
Davis was found on the ground in the strip mall parking lot with a gunshot wound to his chest when they arrived. Near him, officers discovered two.40-caliber shot casings.
Davis was sent to Regions Hospital and died four hours later. He died after blood loss due to an abdominal wound, according to the Ramsey County medical examiner’s office.
According to the complaint, Edwards took a bottle of vodka from the store and was approached by Davis. Carlson said it was unclear if Edwards stole or paid for the alcohol based on video surveillance or witness testimony. Carlson claims he was low on cash, but the footage shows a customer handing him extra at the counter.
He responded, “As I told the jury, it scarcely matters.” “You don’t manage things like this.”
A liquor shop employee said police he overheard Edwards telling Davis he had a pistol on him, according to the complaint. According to Carlson, Edwards denied ever stating anything. The employee could not be found in time to testify in court.
According to the lawsuit, Davis then flashed Edwards his revolver, and the two fought their way out the door and into the parking lot.
After that, video footage showed Edwards threatening Davis with pepper spray, and the two men got into a violent argument. Davis attempted to pull his weapon from his jacket while grappling with Edwards, but Edwards seized his shoulders. Davis’ pistol was thrown on the ground. According to the complaint, as Davis grabbed for the pistol, Edwards shoved him away, took it up, and shot Davis twice.
Davis was a regular client who was protective of the establishment, according to a liquor store employee. Edwards had previously been in the store when he didn’t have enough money to pay for his items, according to him.
“It was a really sad and needless situation,” Carlson added. “I mean, it all started with a disagreement about whether Mr. Edwards had stolen a half-pint of vodka from a liquor shop or not.”
Edwards has been detained in lieu of $1 million bail since his arrest on December 31. Carlson claimed he felt “enormous relief” after the ruling. “And, frankly, thankfulness.”