A Minnesota man accused of shooting three people dead and two others in St. Paul last year has been exonerated by a judge in a case that depended on an alibi defence.
Antonio Dupree Wright was found not guilty of all charges by Ramsey County Judge Kelly Olmstead on Friday, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Wright, 42, of Minneapolis, had consented to a judge-only trial after waiving a jury trial.
“There’s insufficient evidence to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is the person who committed these heinous crimes,” Olmstead said.
Wright was accused by the prosecution of being the masked guy who opened fire with a handgun on the victims at a St. Paul duplex on September 4, 2022, charging him with second-degree murder and attempted murder. Cory Freeman, 42, Angelica Gonzales, 33, and Maisha Spaulding, 44, were all killed.
“There is no question that the victims were intentionally targeted for murder,” Olmstead said. “The sole, true issue in this case is the identity of the shooter.”
Joe Friedberg, Wright’s legal counsel, claimed in his written conclusion that Wright had a “proven” alibi because he was in Chicago at the time.
“This is just a horrible case of a massacre, where the state charged the wrong guy,” Friedberg told the newspaper after the verdict.
Wright’s aunt testified during the trial that he dropped by her Chicago house unannounced at 10 a.m. on the day of the shooting. It would have been more than five hours after the shooting when, according to his mother’s testimony, he arrived at her flat at 10 p.m. She recognised her kid as the man caught on camera in the apartment block foyer.
Friedberg further asserted that Wright didn’t have the dreadlocks mentioned by witnesses as belonging to the gunman.
According to the allegations, the gunman’s name was Antonio, according to Stephen Anderson, who was shot in the head and hands. Wright was also chosen by Anderson as the shooter from a lineup of photos. At trial, Anderson changed his story, claiming that the shooter had dreadlocks and wasn’t Wright.
“While we are disappointed in the outcome, we respect the court’s decision,” prosecutors said in a statement.
Wright is currently being held in custody on a $2 million bail after being charged with kidnapping and attempted murder in a different incident.