Roseville man found not guilty in fatal shooting outside Billy’s on Grand

"They got the wrong guy is what I told the jury, and the jury agreed," Demond Dawson's attorney said.

Roseville man found not guilty in fatal shooting outside Billy’s on Grand

A Roseville man was found not guilty by a jury Friday in Ramsey County District Court in the fatal shooting of a St. Paul man last September.

Demond Adante Dawson, 24, was acquitted of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Albert Dwayne Stevens, 29, outside Billy’s on Grand, a bar on Grand Avenue in St. Paul. Dawson was originally charged with two counts of second-degree murder and one count of second-degree attempted murder. Stevens was shot in the chest and another man was shot in the leg.

One count of second-degree murder was dismissed on the first day of trial.

“They got the wrong guy is what I told the jury, and the jury agreed and found him not guilty,” said Steven Meshbesher, Dawson’s attorney. Meshbesher said he believes the police may have had the actual shooter in custody that night but did not take fingerprints or swab for gun powder residue before releasing him.

The jury deliberated Friday and near the end of the day asked to see a body-cam video of a police officer interviewing an eyewitness. The woman being interviewed said she knew Dawson and said they had gone to school together. She said eight times that she was sure she had seen him in a black Chevy Impala.

According to the criminal complaint, other witnesses told police that around 3:25 a.m. Sept. 27, Stevens was arguing with someone who was inside a silver Pontiac. The Pontiac drove off, made a U-turn and came back to the area. Stevens crossed the street to where it was parked to continue the argument. A 29-year-old man tried to stop Stevens from arguing and urged him to walk away.

A witness told police that the driver had one arm out the window and the other hand on the steering wheel of the Pontiac. The driver’s hand went briefly out of sight and then came up firing a handgun, the complaint said.

A bullet hit Stevens in the chest, perforating his lung and heart. Another bullet struck the 29-year-old in the leg. He required surgery to repair a severed artery, according to the complaint.

Meshbesher argued that based on witness accounts there were two cars at the scene. The witness who knew Dawson was certain he was not in the Pontiac.

Judge JaPaul Harris had dismissed the jury Friday after they had been deliberating for about six hours and had planned to reconvene court Monday. He gave them 10 more minutes to deliberate, and at the last minute the jury returned to the courtroom and issued the not-guilty verdict.

“It was very intense,” Meshbesher said. “Everybody was elated and crying and hugging.”

The prosecuting attorney, Nelson Rhodus, had no comment.