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Loving v. State

Supreme Court of Minnesota

March 22, 2017

Ryedelle Reginald Loving, Appellant,
v.
State of Minnesota, Respondent.

         Office of Appellate Courts

          Cathryn Middlebrook, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Roy G. Spurbeck, Assistant State Public Defender, Saint Paul, Minnesota, for appellant.

          Lori Swanson, Attorney General, Saint Paul, Minnesota; and Michael O. Freeman, Hennepin County Attorney, Brittany D. Lawonn, Assistant Hennepin County Attorney, Minneapolis, Minnesota, for respondent.

         SYLLABUS

         1. The evidence was sufficient to support the appellant's convictions of first-degree premeditated murder and attempted first-degree premeditated murder.

         2. The district court did not abuse its discretion when it limited testimony about the dangerous nature of the location where the shooting occurred.

          3. The postconviction court did not abuse its discretion when it refused to review the nontestimonial portions of the grand-jury transcript.

         4. The district court, on remand, should vacate the appellant's convictions of three duplicative drive-by-shooting offenses.

         Affirmed and remanded.

          OPINION

          STRAS, Justice.

         Ryedelle Reginald Loving is currently serving a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of release for his conviction of first-degree premeditated murder for a shooting that occurred at a Minneapolis gas station. In addition to causing the death of one victim, the encounter also led to two other convictions for Loving, both for attempted first-degree premeditated murder, based on shots he fired at two other individuals. We affirm these convictions.

         FACTS

         This case involves a dispute over an alleged $80 debt. Just a few days before the shooting, Loving gave $80 to R.M. to reimburse him for some items that Loving had allegedly stolen from R.M. and his mother. Unhappy with making the payment, Loving unsuccessfully urged R.M. to return the funds in two separate telephone calls. When R.M. and Loving crossed paths at an Old Colony gas station a few days later, the tragic events of this case unfolded.

         R.M.; his brother, Gilbert Jordan; and their friend, L.I., arrived at the gas station in a tan van. Loving, meanwhile, arrived in a green Cadillac Bonneville sedan driven by his associate, E.L. Loving and R.M. encountered each other briefly at the pay window of the gas station, and though they may have interacted, the men did not confront one another. In fact, right after both men paid for their gas, they returned to their vehicles without incident.

         However, when Loving returned to the car, E.L. noticed that Loving's demeanor had changed. According to E.L., Loving had been "happy and cool" before encountering R.M., but "seemed nervous" and "agitated" when he returned. Even though E.L. and Loving left together, E.L. stopped and exited the car just one block from the gas station because Loving was visibly upset and "it didn't look like it was a good situation."

         Immediately thereafter, Loving, now the driver of the green Bonneville sedan, returned to the gas station, circled the gas-station grounds, and then drove toward the tan van. When R.M. saw Loving's vehicle approaching, he grabbed a gun, placed it in his waistband, and jumped out of the van. L.I. and Jordan followed R.M. from the van, but neither had a gun. As Loving drove toward the group, he leaned out of the car and said, "what is up with the money?" Loving then began shooting at R.M., L.I., and Jordan, all of whom attempted to take cover. Before they could do so, Loving fired at least seven shots, one of which killed Jordan and several others of which injured L.I. and R.M. R.M. never had an opportunity to pull the gun from his waistband before Loving's vehicle sped away.

         The next day, police officers discovered a burning green vehicle in north Minneapolis, which, according to a forensic examiner, had unique characteristics that matched the green Bonneville sedan observed in the surveillance footage from the gas station. Later that same day, a witness saw Loving with burns on his face and hands. The evidence at trial also established that Loving called his ex-girlfriend the evening after the shooting and told her that he had done something wrong and that he needed to leave town. Two days later, police officers arrested Loving for the gas-station shooting.

         A grand jury indicted Loving on six counts. Two of the counts, first-degree premeditated murder, Minn. Stat. § 609.185(a)(1) (2016); and first-degree murder while committing a drive-by shooting, Minn. Stat. § 609.185(a)(3) (2016), were for Jordan's death. The others-two counts of attempted first-degree premeditated murder, Minn. Stat. §§ 609.185(a)(1), 609.17 (2016); and two counts of attempted first-degree murder while ...


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