Minneapolis police used DNA from a cigarette butt to track down a second suspect who was charged Wednesday in a drug-related slaying, according to charges.
Marcus R. Desmarais of Minneapolis was charged with second-degree murder in the Sept. 9 shooting death of Michael E. Rekow, 46, who had no permanent address. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office said he was shot multiple times.
A second person in the shooting, Ernesto Rivera, 40, also of Minneapolis, was charged with murder last year.
Police say that Rekow was seated in his vehicle with a woman he was dating shortly before 3 a.m. in the 4500 block of Stevens Avenue S. when Desmarais and Rivera approached him to discuss stolen property.
Rekow got out of his vehicle and into the back seat of the defendants’ van. He began fighting with the two men and Rivera allegedly shot him.
Rekow got back in his vehicle and attempted to drive away, but crashed into a sound wall next to Interstate 35W.
When police arrived, Rekow was alone in the vehicle driver’s seat and deceased with at least one gunshot wound to the head.
Using the street name known by Rekow’s friend, Rivera was tracked down and arrested the next day.
Officers canvassed the neighborhood and learned a nearby residence had video cameras that captured the incident. It showed that Rivera and a second person, now believed to be Desmarais, were walking along the sidewalk before the shooting, smoking cigarettes.
Officers learned that Desmarais was the boyfriend of Rivera’s daughter, but when they tried to speak with him, he walked away. Rekow’s friend was shown a photo lineup of six people, but was unable to identify Desmarais, although she said his photo “was most similar to the appearance of the man with Rivera at the scene,” according to the police complaint.
Police collected the cigarette butts and submitted them for DNA testing. On April 28, a DNA profile obtained from a butt was matched to a DNA profile of Desmarais, who is listed in a convicted offender database.
Desmarais is currently in the Hennepin County workhouse on an unrelated charge. When officers interviewed him, he denied being involved in the shooting, the criminal complaint said.
Rivera, who was first charged with second-degree murder, has subsequently been indicted on one count of aiding and abetting murder in the first degree and one count of aiding and abetting murder in the first degree while committing aggravated robbery.