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Ramsey County trio with gang ties charged with witness tampering

  • Article by: JOY POWELL
  • Star Tribune
  • December 18, 2012 - 9:11 PM

Ramsey County prosecutors have charged three men who have gang ties with witness tampering -- and one of them already faces murder charges in a different case.

The charges stem from the dismissal of a shooting case more than a month ago in which witnesses stopped cooperating with prosecutors.

Joseph Haywood Campbell, Antonio Freeman and Kewan Percy Smith, all 20 years old and of St. Paul, have been charged with allegedly tampering with a witness on Oct. 5 for the benefit of the East Side Boyz gang.

They're also charged with first-degree witness tampering by aiding another to use force or threats of injury to prevent or dissuade a person who was to become a witness testifying in a trial or other legal proceeding. A third count charges them with third-degree rioting for the benefit of a gang.

The suspect who benefited from the tampering is 18-year-old Casey Jermar Davis of St. Paul. He was 17 when he allegedly shot and wounded a 19-year-old man just before midnight on May 18 in St. Paul at a party that allegedly included members of the East Side Boyz and their rivals.

Officers had been called to the 600 block of Virginia Street, where they found the 19-year-old lying on a table and bleeding profusely from multiple gunshot wounds. One bullet had sliced through the femoral vein in his leg, and he'd also been shot in both hands. He was taken to Regions Hospital in critical condition.

Two witnesses identified Davis as the man who took out a gun and fired repeatedly. Another witness told police Davis bragged about the shooting.

After he was charged, Davis and his attorney were given witnesses' names and the trio's alleged intimidation took place.

According to the complaint, the three men beat up one witness, forced him to walk home in his underwear and told him to "Stop snitching on Casey."

On Nov. 8, a prosecutor dismissed the charges against Davis because witnesses weren't cooperating.

Campbell also was indicted last month for the Oct. 14 slaying of Naressa Turner, 20, who was shot in a car in a Dayton's Bluff alley.

Relatives and friends said Turner had been the target of threats on Facebook and other social media sites, possibly because people falsely believed she had witnessed the murder of Dominic Neely in February.

Court documents say Turner may have had a role in or "intimate knowledge" of the unsolved killing of Neely, a reputed East Side Boyz gang member.

In the Turner homicide, Campbell was indicted for first-degree premeditated murder, second-degree murder with intent and two counts of crime committed for the benefit of a gang.

Grand jurors also indicted Cornelius Bell, 24, Shoreview, with committing a crime for the benefit of a gang and three counts of aiding an offender.

Joy Powell • 651-925-5038

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