Oakdale man gets 4 years for aggravated robbery in connection with his role in St. Paul homicide

An Oakdale man was sentenced to four years in prison on Wednesday for aggravated robbery in connection with the fatal shooting of 33-year-old Deondrae R. Atkins.

Jesse Willis Gleeson, 33, has credit for 386 days already served, according to court records.

Gleeson was charged with two counts of second-degree murder and one count of first-degree aggravated robbery in an amended criminal complaint on July 13, 2023.

On Oct. 11, Gleeson pleaded guilty via an Alford plea to the aggravated robbery charge in exchange for the dismissal of the other two charges, a maximum of 48 months in prison, a $50 fine and probation, according to court records.

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On Nov. 13, 2022, officers from the St. Paul Police Department (SPPD) were called to the 200 block of Ninth Street West just after 2 a.m. on a report of a man who was lying unresponsive on the ground, according to a criminal complaint.

The man, later identified as Atkins, was pronounced dead on the scene by medics, officials say. A cellphone and bullet were also found near Atkins.

People who knew Atkins told officers that his red Saturn Aura was missing, the complaint added.

Court records say surveillance video of the scene showed Atkins arriving in the Saturn and parking at around 10 p.m. on Nov. 12. Then, just before 12:15 a.m. on Nov. 13, a Dodge Journey parked on the same side of the street behind the Saturn.

At 12:52 a.m., the suspected shooter, later identified as Keland Makeba Kamese Raino, got out of the Journey’s front passenger seat and approached the Saturn, spoke to Atkins, then returned to the Journey, the complaint stated.

Later, at 1:27 a.m., Raino got out of the car again and approached the Saturn. Gleeson also got out of the vehicle and stood behind the shooter, officials said.

The video shows Gleeson trying to open the doors of the car and then flinching “as if reacting to a gunshot,” the complaint states.

Two minutes later, at 1:29 a.m., Atkins opened the door of the Saturn and walked away hunched over. Officials say he then collapsed on the sidewalk where his body was later found.

The complaint added that additional surveillance video shows the Saturn and the Journey leaving the scene together and traveling to the 200 block of Ravoux Street, where the Saturn was later recovered.

A gun, suspected fentanyl pills, and Atkin’s wallet were recovered from the Saturn, the complaint said.

On Nov. 16, law enforcement executed a search warrant at an apartment in Oakdale and arrested Gleeson. They also found the pants he was wearing at the time of the shooting.

In an interview with officers, Gleeson claimed he hadn’t been in the area where Atkins was found in months. However, when confronted with evidence, the complaint states that Gleeson said he was with a man he knew as “Skee” and claimed they were buying marijuana.

After they drove off, Gleeson said he caught up with Skee, who “started talking crazy” and said he’d shot Atkins in the leg and then stole his car. However, Gleeson denied trying to rob Atkins, although he didn’t have an explanation for why they waited 90 minutes after parking near Atkins to buy weed from him.

The complaint adds that police showed Gleeson a picture of Raino and he confirmed that was Skee.

Prosecutors notified Gleeson and his attorneys of their intent to seek aggravated sentencing on July 24 due to the fact that the victim was treated with particular cruelty, according to court records.