Jurors rejected a St. Paul man's self-defense claim and convicted him Monday of fatally shooting a woman and wounding a man in his Lowertown apartment last year.
Scott A. Klund Jr., 30, was convicted in Ramsey County District Court on one count of second-degree murder with intent for killing Charlotte A. Rawls, 52, and attempted second-degree murder with intent for shooting Ray Gruer, 31, and slicing his throat on May 7, 2016. Jurors acquitted him of first-degree attempted murder for injuring Gruer, a count that was added at the start of trial.
Jurors decided not to convict Klund on a lesser count — first-degree manslaughter in the heat of passion — instead of murder in Rawls' death, an option that was presented to them when they began deliberations Friday afternoon.
By dismissing the self-defense claim, jurors found that Gruer was not committing a felony — including robbery or burglary — in Klund's apartment.
Ramsey County District Court Judge John Guthmann noted before the verdicts were read that jurors had informed the court about 11:37 a.m. Monday that they had reached a decision on second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter, but were struggling with the other two counts in relation to Gruer. Jurors were instructed to continue their deliberations.
The jury of four women and eight men declined to comment about their deliberations after the verdicts were read in court about 4 p.m.
Klund met Gruer and Rawls, who were homeless, at a gas station after bar close on May 7. The trio returned to Klund's building in the 200 block of 5th Street E. near Mears Park. A resident of the building called 911 about shots fired about 3:38 a.m.
Klund's attorneys, Elizabeth Switzer and Aaron Haddorff, tried to show at trial that Klund acted instinctively when he shot Rawls and Gruer in self-defense, using skills he learned as a U.S. Marine serving in Afghanistan.
The defense argued that Rawls and Gruer were high on methamphetamine, and invited themselves into Klund's apartment so they could rob him. Klund fired at them after Gruer grabbed Klund's wallet and knife and refused to leave, Switzer told jurors. Rawls rifled through Klund's bedroom, the defense said.
"There is nothing in the law that says you have to defend yourself with a pistol and you can only shoot once," Switzer told jurors in her closing argument Friday.
Assistant Ramsey County Attorney Thomas Ring tried to show jurors that Marines are highly skilled soldiers who know when the use of force is appropriate.
Ring told jurors that Klund "ambushed" Gruer, but provided no reason for Klund's actions. He poked holes in Klund's inconsistent police interview and courtroom testimony, including Klund's initial story to police that Gruer was not holding a knife.
"How is it self-defense to shoot and kill a [52-year-old] woman with a bad ankle who is running away from you?" Ring asked jurors during closing arguments. "Since when is it self-defense when a man is trapped in your bathroom to shoot into the bathroom twenty-four times?"