A 34-year-old Richfield man was sentenced Friday to more than 21 years in prison for his role in the murder of a man shot a dozen times in south Minneapolis, according to the Hennepin County attorney’s office.

Kashaun Damon Pierce was sentenced Friday for his involvement in the November 2011 murder of Delwin Cooper after an apparent argument.

Pierce had pleaded guilty Monday to aiding and abetting murder in the second degree.

On Nov. 12, 2011, police were called to E. 44th Street and 33rd Avenue S. on reports of a shooting. Cooper was declared dead at the scene. According to witnesses, several men had been arguing before the shooting. Two vehicles were seen fleeing the scene.

During the investigation, police discovered on Cooper’s cellphone numerous text messages to a phone number linked to Pierce. The messages showed that a meeting was scheduled between Cooper and Pierce.

Police found out that one of the cars that had reportedly fled the scene was registered to Pierce. During a search of the vehicle, police found Cooper’s blood and other evidence of multiple gunshots being fired within the car. The other vehicle that had left the scene and was identified as Cooper’s was also located and found to have been destroyed by fire.

When Pierce was eventually found in Iowa and transported back to Minnesota, police noted that his eyebrows had been singed, an injury consistent with being burned. Pierce later admitted to setting Cooper’s car on fire.

Janette Pliego, Pierce’s girlfriend at the time, has also pleaded guilty to aiding an offender after the fact for her attempts to mislead the police investigation.

Pliego had reported that Pierce’s vehicle had been stolen. On the 911 call, she claimed Pierce had been out of town with her and was still out of town.

According to criminal complaints, after Pliego’s arrest, she continued to be evasive and provide misleading information until finally she told police that she knew the car had been impounded at the time she called 911 to report it stolen.

She also said she knew that Pierce owed money to Cooper and that Pierce had told her that he struggled over a gun with Cooper on the night of the shooting. Pliego will be sentenced later this month.


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