A Minneapolis man already in jail on suspicion of fatally shooting his girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend last summer now faces charges for a second killing three weeks before.
In the latest charges, Derrick Blanton, 38, is accused of the July 21 slaying of Gregory Hoskins in the Near North neighborhood. One witness identified him as the gunman, police say, while another told detectives that Blanton asked that witness to help him dispose of the clothing he was reportedly wearing at the time.
Blanton was charged by warrant Thursday because he’s been in jail on the earlier murder charges.
About three weeks after Hoskins’ death, Blanton was accused of killing Isiah L. Smith, 29, in an apartment building just south of downtown, according to a criminal complaint that attributed the killing to a feud over a woman.
According to the complaint, Blanton was at the woman’s apartment with his 4-year-old son when Smith dropped by unannounced, as he occasionally did to spend time with a child that he and the woman shared.
Surveillance video from a nearby building captured the shooting’s aftermath, showing Blanton, another man and a child fleeing the scene, according to the complaint. After his arrest, Blanton reportedly told police that he shot Smith during a physical dispute.
In a filing, his public defender said he plans to argue that Blanton acted in self-defense. The attorney who represents Blanton in each of his pending cases did not respond Friday to a message seeking comment.
A check of Blanton’s criminal history showed no other violent crimes in his past.
In the most recent case, a witness told homicide detectives Robert Dale and Chris Gaiters that Hoskins was carrying groceries to his house when a black Chrysler 300 pulled up and a gunman fired multiple shots at Hoskins, the complaint says. The witness gave police a detailed description of the alleged shooter, and later picked Blanton out of a photo lineup.
The complaint says another witness told detectives that Blanton asked if he could take a bath in the witness’ house, and later asked for help to dispose of a plastic bag of bloody clothing. The witness said Blanton attributed the blood to a fight in which he’d pistol-whipped another man.