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17-Year-Old Found Guilty of Assault, Robbery in Brutal Attack of St. Paul Man

Updated: 01/14/2014 11:01 PM
Created: 01/13/2014 10:10 PM KSTP.com
By: Cassie Hart

A jury has found a 17-year-old guilty Tuesday of one count each of assault in the first degree and aggravated robbery in the first degree in the brutal attack of Ray Widstrand of St. Paul.

Back in August Widstrand was walking through his neighborhood when he got caught in the chaos of a fight that spilled into the street from a house party. Widstrand was nearly beaten to death. Now, he's dealing with a brain injury and is missing part of his skull.

Cindarion Butler was found not guilty of two counts of committing a crime for the benefit of a gang.

The jury found aggravating factors that will be used at sentencing, which is set for March 25.

“Tonight’s verdict is a small measure of justice for the victim who was brutally beaten and left for dead on the streets of St. Paul’s East Side,” said Ramsey County Attorney John Choi. “We look forward to the sentencing phase of this case as well as any additional hearings in connection with this horrific incident.”

Prosecutors say Widstrand was hit in the head and knocked unconscious. They say for 15 minutes a group of about 10 gang members repeatedly kicked, dragged and punched him. They say they also stripped off his shorts to rob him. The state says the teen committed the crime to send a message and enhance their reputation.

The defense attorney for the teen says the state didn't prove their case. He claims there is no evidence that the teen took part in the attack and his client isn't a gang member.

As for the other suspects in this case, one juvenile has pleaded guilty in the beating and two others still have cases going. A 15 year-old faces an Adult Certification hearing Wednesday morning in juvenile court.

A 19-year-old man was found not guilty back in November.

The trial took place at the Ramsey County Courthouse. In closing arguments Tuesday, graphic photos were shown of Widstrand on the ground in a pool of blood following the attack.


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