Red Wing man pleads guilty to manslaughter, drug sale charges filed in connection to teen’s death

Court documents show a man charged for the death of a 14-year-old who overdosed in January 2023 has pleaded guilty to two charges filed against him.

During his pre-trial hearing last week, Deshawn Lee Smith, 45, of Red Wing, entered a guilty plea to second-degree manslaughter and selling drugs. Initially, Smith was also charged with third-degree murder, third-degree drug sale and fifth-degree drug possession.

As previously reported by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, the teenage victim told police in February 2022 that he was struggling with drug addiction, the criminal complaint said. Investigators later learned that the teen suffered two non-fatal overdoses in the following months, one of which required him to be flown to Mayo-Rochester.

Later that year, the teen told officers that he was primarily buying drugs from people at Maple Hills Apartments, according to court documents.

The teen identified two other juveniles who sold fentanyl pills at the apartment building. An investigator conducted surveillance at the building and saw a man, later identified as Smith selling drugs out in the open on multiple occasions. The investigator later put up a camera, which captured more drug dealing.

On Jan. 10, 2023, officers responded to a medical emergency in which the teen wasn’t breathing, and his lips were purple. First responders found the teen on his back on the floor of the bedroom. Despite first aid, he was pronounced dead, court documents said.

The teen’s father couldn’t get the boy to wake up, so he moved him to the floor and called 911. The teen’s death was determined to be “toxic effects of fentanyl.”

The father also found part of a pill on the headboard of the teen’s bed, which was later identified to be an M30 “perc” fentanyl pill, court officials said. During a search of the teen’s room, investigators found more of the same pills hidden in a replica car.

One of the juveniles that the victim identified as a drug dealer admitted that he sold pills for a man who was later identified as Smith, but believed the pills were “percs” and denied selling them to the victim.

On Jan. 17, 2023, officers executed a search warrant in a motel room they believed Smith was using as a secondary location to sell drugs. Mail for Smith was found in the room, and the room was under his name, court documents said.

In the motel room, investigators found pills similar to the ones found in the victim’s room — they tested positive for fentanyl.

A week later, one of the juveniles said that Smith was aware of the victim’s previous overdoses and told the juvenile to sell him fewer pills. This juvenile admitted to selling the pills to the victim the night before his death.

Smith’s sentencing is scheduled for June 14.