Jurors convicted a Twin Cities man Tuesday of all felony counts filed against him in three shootings that police believe were gang-related.
Ramone D. Smaller, 22, was tried in Ramsey County District Court on 10 felony counts for shootings that occurred in St. Paul in late October 2013. Smaller’s case rose to infamy largely because he was dating a St. Paul police officer at the time, Ruby Diaz, who has testified in court that she rented him two cars during the shootings.
Diaz, 39, was convicted in December of identity theft for using her friend’s information to send Smaller $1,500 in 2014 as he served a six-year prison term for attempted murder. She was fired from the police department after her conviction, and is no longer romantically involved with Smaller.
Assistant Ramsey County Attorney David Miller presented evidence at Smaller’s trial that showed him in a shoving match on October 24, 2013 with a rival gang member. A few hours later, the home belonging to the rival’s grandmother was shot multiple times while the woman and her sister flattened themselves on the floor to avoid being shot. Two more shootings at different addresses would follow that month.
No one was injured in the shootings.
A forensic scientist with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension testified that swabs of the gun suspected in the shootings showed that Smaller was the predominant DNA contributor, but that there were mixtures of three or more DNA profiles.
Smaller’s attorney, Christopher Zipko, told jurors during opening statements last week that they should acquit Smaller because no one identified him at any of the shootings, and because the DNA evidence could not prove that he was the shooter.
Jurors began their deliberations about 2:45 p.m. Tuesday and ended just after 7 p.m.
Smaller is scheduled to be sentenced in May.
He remains charged with two felony counts — a crime committed for the benefit of a gang, and aiding an offender — in another case. He is scheduled to go to trial on that matter March 23.