Man sentenced to 20 years for murder, assault charges stemming from 2021 death

The man who crashed a vehicle into a crowd of protesters in Uptown Minneapolis last year, killing one woman, was sentenced Wednesday morning.

Nicholas Kraus, 36, was sentenced to 20 years in jail. As previously reported, Kraus pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and assault last month.

“I apologize to the families,” said Kraus during the hearing. “I don’t expect them to forgive me.” He also stated that he served “the top of the box. I deserve more than that.”

During Wednesday’s hearing, Judge Paul Scoggin told Kraus that “It is never easy for someone who is in the position you’re in to truly wrap your head around what you’ve done.”

Kraus killed 31-year-old Deona Knajdek after running his vehicle into a parked vehicle in June of 2021. That vehicle then hit a crowd of protesters in Uptown, which killed Knajdek and injured three others.

RELATED: Man charged with murder in Uptown crash that killed Deona Knajdek

Police said Kraus told them he admitted to accelerating because he was trying to jump a barricade.

There had been ongoing protests in the area following the shooting death of Winston Smith.

Following the sentencing hearing, family members spoke outside the courthouse, saying there’s now a sense of relief.

“This is an end point for us so we can move forward and start our true grieving process because it has been an up-and-down roller coaster,” said one family member.

Knajdek’s family wore t-shirts designed by a friend in honor of her memory.

“It was the least we could do to try and have her with us,” said another family member.

Deona Knajdek(Courtesy: Family)