A jury on Wednesday convicted a Minneapolis man in the shotgun slaying of a father in front of young children and their mother a year ago — and also deemed the killing so cruel that a judge could mete out an especially long prison term next month.
Hennepin County jurors convicted Eddie N. Hubbard of first-degree manslaughter in the killing of Jeremiah Curtis, 23, on May 10, 2013.
Hubbard also was convicted of second-degree assault for pointing the shotgun at Curtis' girlfriend and her four young children — two of whom were also Curtis' children — ordering her to tell police it was an accident, before running out the door.
Just before the slaying, Hubbard had sent a text message to Curtis, ordering him to move out of Hubbard's north Minneapolis house along with his 23-year-old girlfriend and her four children, ages 1 through 4.
Hubbard arrived at the 2900 block of Girard Avenue N. as the parents packed in an upstairs bedroom. Hubbard shouted for Curtis to take him to a pharmacy. Curtis refused, calling out that he was too busy packing.
Hubbard came upstairs and fired a single shotgun blast, hitting Curtis in the abdomen. He died before paramedics arrived. Police found the mom, Kristi Lynn Squires, on her knees in front of the house, crying hysterically as she held a baby in her arms. Another young child was next to her. In the bedroom, Curtis lay dead, with two children nearby.
After the jurors convicted Hubbard, they weighed whether the circumstances would justify a judge's upward departure from state sentencing guidelines.
"The jury found there was an aggravating factor of having shot Mr. Curtis in front of the children," said county attorney Mike Freeman.
"This is an unusual case because the defendant had been friends with Mr. Curtis for years. But the oldest children will be scarred by what they witnessed and they were all endangered by his actions, so a sentence of more than the guideline sentence of 103 months is more than justified."