Stillwater Man Pleads Guilty in Motel Shooting, Rapes
Photo: KSTP File Photo
A man accused of holding 11 people hostage and raping four teenage girls at gunpoint during a party in a suburban motel room pleaded guilty Thursday to four felonies, including attempted murder.
Demetrius Ballinger, 26, of Stillwater, pleaded guilty to intentional second-degree attempted murder and four counts of rape in the Aug. 31 incident, which led to an hours-long standoff with Woodbury police. Authorities say when one man tried to leave, Ballinger fired at him. That man was shot to death by police.
Ballinger faces about 36 years in prison when sentenced in October, Washington County Attorney Pete Orput said. With good behavior, he would be released in 24 years.
"We are pleased to be able to bring some closure for the victims of this defendant's heinous acts," Orput said in a statement. "While he will be serving a huge amount of time in prison, it cannot begin to recompense the harm he has caused."
Ballinger was initially charged with 27 felonies. His attorney did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.
According to the complaint, Ballinger, five other adults and six juveniles were in a room at the Red Roof Inn in Woodbury when Ballinger became frustrated and pulled out a gun, threatening to shoot everyone and ordering them to hand over their money and cellphones. One of the females dialed 911 as she threw her phone on the floor, creating an open line for dispatchers.
Police arrived and saw Ballinger had a gun. The complaint said one of the hostages, 19-year-old Mark Eric Henderson of St. Paul, saw a chance to leave the room, and as he did, Ballinger shot at him. Officers heard a gunshot as the door opened and fired, believing Henderson was armed. He was not, and died at a local hospital.
The officers were cleared of wrongdoing.
Shortly after Henderson left, Ballinger ordered the teenage girls into the bathroom. He then sodomized a 15-year-old and raped three 16-year-olds at gunpoint. The complaint said he told police he raped the teens because he knew he was going to be arrested anyway.
Orput said Thursday that with the plea deal, the victims are spared the pain of a trial.
"I talked to the families, the mothers ... they said the girls can't go out of the house. They are devastated," he said.
The video above is from previous coverage from KSTP-TV of the standoff.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)