County Office of Appellate Courts
Swanson, Attorney General, Saint Paul, Minnesota; and Michael
O. Freeman, Hennepin County Attorney, Cheri A. Townsend,
Assistant County Attorney, Minneapolis, Minnesota, for
Cathryn Middlebrook, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Michael
W. Kunkel, Assistant State Public Defender, Saint Paul,
Minnesota, for appellant.
State presented evidence sufficient to prove beyond a
reasonable doubt that appellant killed the victim while
attempting to commit an aggravated robbery.
district court did not commit plain error in instructing the
jury on the requirements of first-degree felony murder.
Maurice Webster was convicted of first-degree felony murder,
Minn. Stat. § 609.185(a)(3) (2016), for the killing of
Eulalio Gonzalez-Sanchez. On appeal, Webster challenges the
sufficiency of the evidence and the district court's jury
instructions. We affirm.
September 21, 2014, Gonzalez-Sanchez was discovered shot to
death on a sidewalk in northeast Minneapolis. After a police
investigation, a grand jury indicted Webster for first-degree
felony murder on an accomplice-liability theory. See
Minn. Stat. § 609.185(a)(3); Minn. Stat. § 609.05
(2016). Webster pleaded not guilty and demanded a jury trial.
trial, the State presented the following evidence. At 6:24
a.m. on September 21, 2014, Gonzalez-Sanchez was texting with
his girlfriend as he walked home. At 6:25 a.m., L.C. and S.H.
were awakened by the sound of three gunshots outside of their
apartment. When L.C. looked outside, he saw a man's body
lying on the sidewalk and immediately called 911. Police
arrived to find Gonzalez-Sanchez, who had died from three
gunshot wounds. Gonzalez-Sanchez's wallet was lying on
the ground and his cell phone was missing. Surveillance video
recorded at 6:29 a.m. at a nearby business showed a car
driving away from the location where police found
weeks later, the police stopped Jeremiah Blackwell while he
was driving a car that appeared similar to the one in the
video. During a search of the car, police discovered a
.40-caliber handgun that, based on forensic testing, was
consistent with the bullets that killed Gonzalez-Sanchez and
the discharged casings recovered from the scene of the
killing. Location data supplied by Blackwell's cell-phone
usage and cell-tower records indicated that his phone was
near the location of the murder in the early morning hours of
September 21, 2014.
directed police to Webster. Webster initially denied
involvement in the killing. But he admitted that he had
handled Blackwell's .40-caliber handgun 2 days before the
murder. Webster claimed he could not ...