2nd weapon raises questions in Minneapolis murder case

  • Article by: ABBY SIMONS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 11, 2011 - 11:16 PM

A newly found knife and a DNA test may throw more light on who killed Dean Schmitz outside a bar.

Chrishaun Reed “CeCe” McDonald

Photo: Tony Dulski, Star Tribune

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Hennepin County prosecutors are seeking DNA from a suspect accused last month of killing a man outside a Minneapolis bar after discovery of a second weapon that may lend credence to claims that the killing was in self-defense.

Chrishaun Reed "CeCe" McDonald, 23, who is a person in transition from a man to a woman, appeared in Hennepin County District Court on Monday supported by dozens of transgender advocates who filled the courtroom and wore "Free Honee Bea" T-shirts, referring to McDonald's nickname.

Also in the courtroom were relatives of 47-year-old Dean Schmitz, whom McDonald allegedly stabbed June 5 outside the Schooner Tavern.

McDonald and a witness said Schmitz incited a melee after midnight when he made racist and gay-bashing remarks toward McDonald, who is black. McDonald told police that Schmitz, of Richfield, came forward and ran into a pair of scissors McDonald was holding, according to a complaint charging McDonald with second-degree murder.

McDonald said in a letter that "this mess wouldn't be happening if it weren't for the victim and his group being rude and disrespectful." McDonald allegedly admitted to the stabbing, but said in the letter that someone else in the group killed Schmitz. No others were arrested.

At the hearing Monday, Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Debra Lund referenced a prosecution motion filed earlier this month requesting a cheek swab from McDonald to provide a DNA sample. According to the motion, which described the incident as a "stabbing/self-defense case,'' a knife was recovered and DNA testing is necessary to determine whether it was involved.

McDonald's attorney, Hersch Izek, said he didn't oppose the motion but requested a speedy trial. Judge Daniel Moreno approved the testing and set a hearing for Sept. 12.

McDonald did not make eye contact with supporters, who were cautioned by deputies and Moreno not to create disturbances during the brief hearing. After the hearing ended, one shouted "We love you, CeCe" as the group left.

McDonald is in Hennepin County jail in lieu of $150,000 bail. Supporters, who have repeatedly rallied outside since McDonald's arrest, have tried to raise money to post bail. Because of safety concerns related to gender-transition status, McDonald is held in isolation.

Abby Simons • 612-673-4921

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