Man sentenced to 37 years for role in 2021 fatal graduation party shooting

An Oakdale man convicted of having a role in a murder at a 2021 graduation party in Woodbury was sentenced to prison on Friday.

Xavier Hudson, 20, was convicted in September following a jury trial for one count of aiding and abetting second-degree murder, four counts of aiding and abetting with a dangerous weapon for second-degree assault and one count of and one count of aiding and abetting with a dangerous weapon for second-degree murder in the death of 14-year-old Demaris Hobbs Ekdahl. Another charge of illegal firearm possession was dismissed.

A judge sentenced Hudson to more than 31 years (375 months) in prison for aiding murder, then ordered consecutive three-year sentences on the remaining aiding and abetting charges.

Court documents say Hudson was part of a group that confronted Demaris, his brother, and others with guns at the party. After that confrontation, documents say Demaris and his brother left the party with their friends and called their stepfather.

Prosecutors say the boys’ stepdad, Keith Dawson, encouraged them to return to the party. When they returned, documents go on to say Dawson fired several shots and drove away.

The car Demaris was in followed Dawson’s, but not before Hudson’s group fired 40 shots in their direction.

One of those bullets hit Demaris, who later died at the hospital.

“I lost my baby for some stupidity. He was a good kid, he didn’t do nothing wrong,” said Trisha Ekdahl, Demaris’ mother.

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At the time, Hudson was two months from his 18th birthday, meaning he was charged as a juvenile, but prosecutors moved to certify him as an adult and the juvenile court granted the request. Hudson appealed, saying his “mental impairment” from a history of trauma and the fact that he wasn’t the initial aggressor in the shooting weren’t properly taken into account by the juvenile court.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals previously said Hudson’s alleged offenses are “extremely serious” and “strongly favor” adult certification before ruling that the juvenile court didn’t err in its ruling to certify Hudson as an adult.

RELATED: Court: teen in fatal Woodbury graduation party shooting can be charged as adult

Hudson was initially charged with two counts of aiding and abetting second-degree murder, four counts of second-degree assault and four counts of aiding and abetting second-degree assault, but those charges were later amended.

Multiple people were arrested and charged for their roles in the shooting, including Dawson, Jaden Lavan Townsend, and Enrique Lucio Davila.

Dawson, 37, pleaded guilty to drive-by shooting, illegal possession of a firearm and second-degree assault. He is serving a seven-year sentence.

Jaden Lavan Townsend, 21, who was in the same group as Hudson, pleaded guilty to second-degree assault. He was sentenced to three years in prison with credit for 371 days already served.

Enrique Lucio Davila, 26, who was also in Hudson’s group, has a jury trial scheduled to begin on April 1.