A murder charge has been dismissed against a 23-year-old man who claimed self-defense when he shot an alleged drug dealer 16 times following a botched transaction at the dead man's St. Paul home.

Roger L. Voss, of River Falls, Wis., had a second-degree murder charge dropped Monday in Ramsey County District Court, but he agreed to plead guilty to a lesser illegal weapons possession count in connection with the shooting of 42-year-old Ruben A. Paramo on Nov. 3.

When Voss is sentenced on May 3, the prosecution and defense can argue for what his sentence should be. The plea deal notes that he could receive a term ranging from five to 15 years. In the meantime, he remains jailed in lieu of $75,000 bail.

Voss told authorities that he went to the Highland Park house in 2200 block of W. 7th Street that evening to buy drugs from Paramo, who attempted to rob him at gunpoint when he arrived. Voss said he wrestled the firearm from Paramo and was shot in the finger.

At the crime scene, detectives found signs of a skirmish, narcotics and drug paraphernalia. An autopsy later determined that Paramo had been struck by gunfire 16 times. A second firearm was never located.

In an interview, Voss told investigators that Paramo struck him in the forehead with a pistol. Paramo shot at him, he said, but the magazine in his pocket stopped the bullet.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482