St. Paul Man Pleads Guilty in Fatal Shooting at Midway Motel

Photo: Photo: KSTP/File

August 17, 2016 11:21 AM

A St. Paul man has pleaded guilty to two counts of intentional second-degree murder in connection to the March 22 shooting deaths of two men at a St. Paul motel.

Thirty-one-year-old Cass Cordel O'Neal, one of three men charged in the deaths of 23-year-old Dominique Moss and 30-year-old Nicholas Tousley, pleaded guilty Tuesday.


Investigators say the shooting was reported about 9:33 p.m. at the Midway Motel, 901 Snelling Ave. N., which is near the Hamline University campus.

According to court documents, officers arrived at the motel to find the two victims dead. A caller said there was a disturbance in Room 15, which was followed by several gunshots. Motel surveillance video showed a commotion in the entryway of Room 15 and several people fleeing the scene, including the two victims.

In an interview with police, 31-year-old Eric John Benner said the shooting happened because his friend, later identified as 31-year-old Ronald Lee Conway, thought one of the shooting victims had stolen $1,000 from him. Benner said Conway deals drugs and that the shooting victim was a supplier, according to the criminal complaint.

Conway asked Benner to drive him to the motel so he could “collect his money,” and when they arrived, shots were fired, according to the complaint.

In an interview with police, Conway admitted that he was with the shooter, who he called “Black.” “Black” was later identified as O’Neal.

During a search of O’Neal’s home, police say investigators recovered a revolver that had been stolen out of Coon Rapids.

Initially, O'Neal denied he was at the motel and denied any involvement in the deaths.

In July, O’Neal and Conway were indicted on six counts: two counts of premeditated first-degree murder, two counts of intentional second-degree murder and two counts of unintentional second-degree murder.

O'Neal is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 13 and a trial for Conway is set to begin Aug. 29.

Last month, Benner pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder. He's scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 4.


Scott Theisen

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