A Ramsey County District Court jury on Thursday convicted a Las Vegas man of eight counts of attempted second-degree murder for his role in a 2021 mass shooting at a popular St. Paul bar that killed one woman and injured 14 people.
Before finding Devondre Trevon Phillips, 30, guilty, jurors deliberated for hours after reviewing camera footage, police testimony and reams of investigative documents that detailed what led up to the shooting just after midnight Oct. 10 at Seventh Street Truck Park.
Phillips will be sentenced March 27. Terry Lorenzo Brown, 34, who is charged with intentional second-degree murder and 11 counts of attempted second-degree murder for his alleged role in the shooting, is scheduled to stand trial April 3.
"Because there is another active criminal case against a second defendant pending, we must reserve comment other than to say that we are grateful for the jury's verdict and appreciate the hard work of the prosecution team and the police investigators on this case," Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said in a statement.
The verdict capped several days of emotional testimony by St. Paul police officers, relatives of victims and Phillips, who took the stand in his own defense.
Defense attorney John Lesch told jurors that on the night of the shooting, Phillips —who was shot five times, suffering a broken femur and severed artery in his leg — opened fire in self-defense when he was cornered and out of options.
"He is a victim in this case, too," Lesch said. "Despite what the state said, there is no intent proven ... he intended to get out of there."
But prosecuting attorney Treye Kettwick said Phillips did not act in self-defense and was an aggressor who intended to kill.
"You have a duty to retreat and to avoid [hurting] lives," Kettwick said.
According to testimony, Phillips previously had clashed with Brown after intervening in an argument between his cousin and Brown while the two were dating.
On the night of the shooting, the Truck Park was busy when Brown reportedly approached Phillips. DJ Peter Parker was playing mainstream hip-hop for a room of around 100 young men and women. Some were ordering drinks and dancing . Others were hugging and greeting friends.
Phillips had been exchanging stares with Brown and his friends across the room. Two of them then approached Phillips, who had backed himself against a truck parked in the bar. One allegedly told Phillips, "Caught ya. Now you're dead," and raised something that was later determined not to be a gun.
That's when prosecutors say Phillips fired.
People scattered. Some climbed over each other, diving across the bar for cover. Many screamed for help. In all, 18 bullet casings were found at the scene. Fourteen people were injured, and Marquisha Wiley, a 27-year-old veterinary technician from St. Paul, was dead.
Some of the wounded were struck in the arm or stomach. Others were hit in the foot, hand or ankle.
Wiley's family, who attended Phillips' trial, declined to comment on Thursday's verdict.
Lesch did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.