Man pleads guilty to manslaughter charge for Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood shooting
Court records show a man has pleaded guilty to one of the multiple charges filed against him after St. Paul police say he shot and killed a man earlier this summer near a bus stop and school in the city’s Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood.
As previously reported by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, 30-year-old Jermaine Ray John Baker died after being shot at the intersection of Earl and East Third streets in July of 2023. Police say they found Baker lying in the street, adding he died at the scene.
Lazarus Lamar Burns II, 31, was later charged with two counts of second-degree murder, one count of second-degree manslaughter, illegally possessing a firearm without a permit and endangerment.
On Monday, Burns pleaded guilty to the manslaughter charge, according to the guilty petition filed, and serve a 40-month sentence. In exchange, prosecutors said they would dismiss the other charges at the time he is sentenced. A judge will still need to approve the deal.
Burns’ sentencing is currently scheduled for Jan. 22.
Multiple witnesses told police that Baker got off a bus and ran up to a man and woman at the bus stop, court documents state. Baker then reportedly started assaulting the woman, knocking her to the ground and “smashing her face in,” according to one witness’s account.
When Baker finally stopped hitting the woman — later identified as his ex-girlfriend — that’s when witnesses and surveillance video showed Burns fire multiple shots at Baker, who started running away before collapsing in the street.
A criminal complaint states that surveillance video reviewed by police showed Baker appearing to look for someone before he bolted off the bus. Eight seconds elapsed from when Baker reached the woman to the time he was back in the street, the document adds.
When police talked to the woman, she noted she had been dating Baker on and off for four years but started dating Burns a few days ago. She added that Baker routinely assaulted her but she never reported it, and during the assault at the bus stop, she heard Burns telling Baker to “chill out” before she heard the gunshots.
The complaint adds that the woman had a swollen face and multiple bumps on her head.
Burns told police that he didn’t know Baker but heard him say, “This my (expletive), bro,” as he started assaulting the woman. Charging documents state that Burns told officers he’s seen men abuse women several times in his life and when he saw Baker attack his girlfriend he “blacked out” and shot him. He also noted he had a permit to carry from Wisconsin.