Man charged with murdering former Central High School basketball star pleads guilty

A second man charged in the death of a former basketball star at Central High School has taken a deal to plead guilty to a murder charge.

According to court records, 22-year-old Xavion Tyrece Bell filed a guilty plea petition on Monday. As part of the deal, Bell entered a guilty plea to one count of intentional second-degree murder, and in exchange, a charge of unintentional murder will be dismissed.

A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for the afternoon of May 22.

Court documents say that in addition to pleading guilty to the murder charge, he also entered a guilty plea to charges stemming from two other cases.

In one case, he pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree aggravated robbery. He is also pleading guilty to three out of the seven charges in the second case. Documents show those three charges are also first-degree aggravated robbery. The four charges being dismissed include three counts of kidnapping and one count of illegal firearm and ammunition possession.

Earlier this year, Bell’s co-defendant, D’Angelo Semaj Dampier, was sentenced to 25 years in prison. He was convicted by a jury last October.

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Bell and Dampier were charged in the death of 21-year-old Dion Lamarr Ford Jr., who was shot while walking to his vehicle after leaving a restaurant and supermarket near the intersection of Maryland Avenue and Arundel Street.

Ford broke the 1,000-point mark while playing on the varsity basketball team at St. Paul’s Central High School before playing basketball in college, including at Casper College in Wyoming. He had moved back to the Twin Cities to attend Augsburg University.

Dion Ford Jr., right, is pictured with Wibi MacDonald, who trained Ford at Minnesota Developmental Basketball in Bloomington. (Courtesy of Wibi MacDonald)