Murder charges dropped against woman accused of involvement in North St. Paul homicide
Ramsey County court records show prosecutors have dropped second-degree murder charges against a St. Paul woman due to “insufficient evidence.”
LaVida Rose Martinez, 19, was facing murder charges after she admitted to police to being near the scene of a shooting that left another man dead.
Multiple other people were arrested and several guns were recovered by police as part of the investigation.
Authorities say 24-year-old Anthony R. Rojas was shot and killed near an apartment at 2145 North McKnight Road in North St. Paul just after 6 p.m. on June 19. The manner of death was ruled a homicide.
When officers entered the apartment, they found Rojas lying on the floor with a gunshot wound to his head. He was pronounced deceased at the scene, court documents said. A shotgun and a bulletproof vest were found in the same hallway as his body.
Officers also found two open and empty gun safes, a 3D printer, a money counter, boxes of ammunition and rifle magazines in the apartment, according to court officials. Investigators believe that Rojas was using the 3D printer to make lower receivers for handguns.
Rojas had also posted a photo of thousands of dollars of cash around 12 hours before his death, but the money wasn’t found in the apartment.
Police say they recovered about 20 guns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition during the investigation.
Less than 10 minutes after a shooting report, someone called 911 and said that a juvenile dropped two bags of handguns at a building a few blocks from the apartment where Rojas was killed. In one of the bags, officers found a gun with a magazine that had ammunition in it but didn’t have a round in its chamber. There was also blood on its grip, court documents said.
Neighbors told police that Rojas seemed to be partying with a group before his death. Right before the shooting, the group was seen arguing near the apartment, and two men walked up. Rojas asked them what they were doing, and neighbors then heard a gunshot.
A woman knocked on the door of the apartment, and someone shouted, “He was already dead,” the complaint said.
After the shooting, multiple people were seen running away from the apartment with large duffle bags.
Rojas’ mother identified one of the women who was with her son before his death as Martinez. The mother told police that Martinez and Rojas were dating.
Rojas’ mother also described two men who were with her son; they matched the description of those who fled after the shooting.
One of the men who fled after the shooting was identified as Steven Terry. Officers conducted surveillance on him and saw him get into an Uber with a woman, identified as his mother, Kimberly Terry.
According to a criminal complaint, officers found a handgun without a serial number in a bag between the two. It matched the ghost guns left at the murder scene. Kimberly Terry claimed the gun was hers.
Steven Terry told investigators that Martinez brought him to Rojas’ apartment and was feeding him pills, causing him to have a panic attack because he didn’t like how the other men were looking at him. He claimed that he left afterward and didn’t know about the shooting.
Martinez later turned herself in to law enforcement. She said she was outside during the shooting and went to check on Rojas when she saw his gunshot wound. She claimed she didn’t know if he had been shot by someone or shot himself. She then ran from the scene.
Law enforcement noted that the shooting appeared to be targeted, and investigators say there is no threat to the general public.