Charges filed in connection to 2019 homicide in St. Paul

Prosecutors have filed criminal charges in connection to a 2019 homicide in St. Paul.

Court records show 28-year-old Devante Lattrele Jennings is charged with both intentional and unintentional second-degree murder for a shooting outside Johnny Baby’s on May 4, 2019.

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Police were called to 981 University Avenue at around 2 a.m. that day on a report of a shooting in the parking lot. There, officers found a 33-year-old man who was unresponsive with apparent gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Charging documents say a witness told officers the man had been by a silver sedan that had three people inside, and it looked like the man was trying to get into the back seat. That’s when the front passenger leaned out and shot the man.

Surveillance video showed the sedan fled west after the shooting, and officers recovered four casings from the parking lot, all of which shared the same headstamp and similar characteristics, the criminal complaint states.

Two days later, officers arrested a man who’d been hired to fix the brakes of a similar vehicle. The complaint states that man admitted to being at Johnny Baby’s that night and hearing gunshots but denied being in the same car as the shooter.

Officers later executed a search warrant on the Kia they believed to be the car the shooter was in and found a cigarette butt inside. DNA from that cigarette butt matched Jennings, court documents state. He was arrested on July 29, 2019, but said he didn’t know the victim and claimed he was at his brother’s home the night of the shooting.

It wasn’t until Nov. 22, 2022, that forensic services personnel finished comparing a latent fingerprint found in the Kia to Jennings’ known fingerprints.

Jennings, who was sentenced in December 2021 for gun possession by an ineligible person, was then interviewed on March 1 at the Moose Lake prison. When confronted with still images from surveillance video at Johnny Baby’s and another bar the night of the shooting, he didn’t deny he was the person in the pictures.

According to the Department of Corrections, Jennings is currently scheduled to be released in December. However, he now faces up to 40 years in prison on the murder charges.

His first court appearance hasn’t yet been set.