Jurors on Wednesday convicted a reputed St. Paul gang member for firing the fatal shot in 2012 that killed Leonard Christian Sr., an innocent man caught in the middle of a violent gang feud.
The jury of four women and eight men began deliberating Desean L. Thomas’ fate about noon, and returned about 4 p.m. with verdicts.
Jurors convicted Thomas, 23, of four counts: crime committed for the benefit of a gang, second-degree murder with intent; second-degree murder with intent and two other counts.
He was acquitted of six counts: first-degree murder, three other counts that include first-degree murder, and two second-degree murder counts.
Authorities said at trial that Thomas knocked on Christian’s back door in the 1000 block of W. Central Avenue just before 3 a.m. on March 30 and fired his high-powered hunting rifle.
Christian was killed when he got up to answer the door.
Thomas and two other members of the Hustle Made Mafia gang were looking for members of the rival gang, Gotta Havit. Christian’s son is a reputed member of the rival gang. The gangs had been feuding, and two other shootings had preceded Christian’s murder.
Thomas is scheduled to be sentenced July 17.