The Minneapolis man accused of kidnapping and killing a north Minneapolis woman on New Year’s Eve declared his innocence in court Tuesday through his attorney and unsuccessfully sought a massive reduction in bail.
A public defender representing Cedric L. Berry, 41, asked that Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill reduce his $2 million bail to a “reasonable” $500,000 bond.
“He maintains his innocence,” said defense attorney Tanya Bishop.
Berry was charged Monday in Hennepin County District Court with one count each of second-degree attempted murder with intent, second-degree murder with intent and kidnapping in the fatal shooting of Monique Baugh and wounding of her boyfriend.
The killing of Baugh, a Realtor and 28-year-old mother of two young daughters, shocked the community and galvanized leaders in the black community to call for an end to gun violence.
Bishop told Cahill that Berry has lived in the Twin Cities for more than 30 years and has 25-year-old twin sons and a 17-year-old son. He has held the same job for three years that he could likely return to if he bonded out of jail, she said in arguing why Berry was amenable to being released from jail.
But Cahill supported a prosecutor’s argument that Berry didn’t deserve leniency.
“I do find that you are an extreme threat to public safety,” Cahill said in keeping bail at $2 million.
Berry is accused of kidnapping Baugh from a Maple Grove home she was showing and transporting her in a U-Haul rental truck to a north Minneapolis alley in the 1300 block of Russell Avenue North, where he allegedly shot her several times at close range about 6:38 p.m.
Moments earlier, according to charges, a masked Berry entered Baugh’s north Minneapolis house in the 4800 block of Humboldt Ave. N. about 5:40 p.m. and shot her boyfriend several times while the couple’s young daughters were home. He survived the shooting.
“I am dead already!” the boyfriend said, according to charges. “My babies are here!”
Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Judith Cole argued for a $2 million bail and noted that Berry has a lengthy criminal record, including a 2001 conviction for second-degree manslaughter.
Berry has two convictions for fifth-degree drug possession and a pending case for the same offense, she said, adding that drugs appeared to be his “business.”
“This is an extremely horrible offense with a gratuitous killing of a victim who wasn’t involved at all…,” Cole said without elaborating on the motive for the killing.
Charging documents did not specify a motive, but noted that Baugh’s boyfriend, a rapper by the name “Momoh” who had gained some attention for his music, had recently signed a music contract and “had been flaunting his cash on social media.”
Two search warrant affidavits filed in Baugh’s killing said Berry was a drug dealer and rival to Baugh’s boyfriend.
Baugh’s uncle attended the hearing, Berry’s first court appearance since his arrest Jan. 3, and left without comment.
Her family members could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Jamilah Ferguson, who said her cousin is related to Baugh, also attended the hearing.
“It’s good because I think he is a threat to the community,” she said of his bail. “I hope her family gets justice at the end of the day.”
Baugh was an agent for Kris Lindahl Real Estate, a home sales businesses in the Twin Cities. The company started an online fundraising effort on behalf of Baugh’s survivors, including her 1- and 3-year-old daughters, and pledged to match the first $10,000 in donations. The effort has raised more than $28,000. A second effort organized by her father, Frank Baugh, has raised more than $7,000.