Man, 24, found guilty of St. Paul murder

  • Article by: PAT PHEIFER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 23, 2007 - 9:25 PM

Police found photos of Tyvarus Lindsey and a second man displaying a ring and watch that had been stolen from the shooting victim.

More than two dozen St. Paul police officers crowded into a 14th-floor courtroom Tuesday morning to hear Tyvarus Lindsey, 25, pronounced guilty of two counts of second-degree murder in the 2005 death of Leon Tyrise Brooks.

Some family members and friends of both Brooks and Lindsey sobbed as the verdict was read. But most heeded a warning from Ramsey County District Judge John Van de North to "keep your emotions to yourself."

In closing arguments Monday, prosecutor Richard Dusterhoft acknowledged that there was no videotape and no witness to the shooting. But all the circumstantial evidence pointed to Lindsey and accomplice Vincent L. Smith, who is scheduled to go on trial Nov. 13.

In the early morning hours of April 24, 2005, Brooks, 27, went with two women to an after-hours party near Selby Avenue and Chatsworth Street in St. Paul's Summit-University neighborhood. As they were leaving, robbers tried to get the keys to Brooks' shiny black GMC sport-utility vehicle. Failing that, they shot him as he ran.

"He was running for his life," Dusterhoft said. "So fast, he ran out of one of his shoes."

Brooks was hit at least twice. He collapsed on the front porch of a house on Dayton Avenue and died about 10 hours later at Regions Hospital.

Bullet casings in the street

Bullet casings from two semiautomatic handguns -- a .380-caliber and a 9-millimeter -- were found in the streets. The killers stole a diamond-encrusted ring and custom-made watch, along with drugs, money and the jacket off Brooks' back, Dusterhoft said.

Police later raided the apartment Lindsey shared with his girlfriend on Ruth Street. Police found several disposable cameras, developed the film and discovered photos of Lindsey and Vincent Smith posing with the watch and ring. In one photo, two handguns lay on a table in front of them.

Defense attorney John Pecchia said that police disposed of the disposable cameras, lost the negatives, tore up a written statement by a man who'd been at the after-hours party and never tested the bullet casings found on the street for fingerprints or DNA evidence.

'Sloppy police work'

"This is sloppy police work, not the quality required if you're going to convict someone," he told the jury.

The jury of six men and six women, including five members of minority groups, found Lindsey guilty of second-degree unintentional murder and second-degree felony murder committed during an aggravated robbery.

Van de North set sentencing for Dec. 11 and ordered Lindsey held without bail.

"It's gratifying to see this case finally brought to a close," said Senior Cmdr. Tim Lynch, head of the St. Paul police homicide unit. "A lot of officers have had contact with [Lindsey] over the years, and he's a person of interest in our ... triple homicide" last March.

After the sentencing, dozens of hugs were exchanged between police officers and Brooks' mother, Dorothea Parker, and other family members as they left the courtroom. Tears continued to stream down Parker's face as she spoke about her second son, Adrian Parker, who killed himself six months after his brother's death.

The brothers, so close in life, were buried side by side at Crystal Lake Cemetery in Minneapolis.

Pat Pheifer • 651-298-1551

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