A St. Paul man will spend more than nine years in prison for setting a fire inside Target headquarters and looting in downtown Minneapolis in summer 2020.
Victor D. Edwards, 32, was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis to 9¹/₃ years after being found guilty in August of arson and looting following a four-day trial.
Two accomplices, Shador T.C. Jackson, 25, of Richfield and Leroy L.P. Williams, 35, of Minneapolis, each pleaded guilty earlier to conspiracy to commit arson. Jackson has been sentenced to 2 ¾ years in prison; court records show that Williams' sentence is pending.
All three defendants have felony records in Minnesota. Jackson has convictions for second-degree assault and drug possession. Edwards was convicted in 2016 for third-degree criminal sexual conduct. He's also been convicted of theft, drug possession and child endangerment. Williams has been convicted of theft, illegal possession of a firearm in public and burglary.
The arson and looting erupted on the evening of Aug. 26, 2020, after Eddie Frank Sole Jr., 38, fatally shot himself on Nicollet Mall. Sole was suspected of shooting and killing another man earlier that day. Sole's death by suicide sparked a false rumor that police had killed him.
Prosecutors say the fire caused nearly $1 million in damage to Target headquarters. Edwards' sentence includes restitution of $941,682.28. However, the court determined that Edwards is unable to meet the financial obligation and has set up a repayment plan with nominal installments that would continue after his release.
According to prosecutors:
Edwards, Jackson and Williams went to Target headquarters on Nicollet, where dozens of others were rioting. Jackson used a construction sign to break through a glass door of the building. The three went inside, where Jackson set a fire on a counter in the mailroom and Edwards added a liquid accelerant.
Edwards was then captured on video surveillance entering nearby Brit's Pub, which soon became engulfed in flames.
That same night, Edwards and Jackson stole designer purses and other items from Saks Off Fifth. Edwards sent text messages to acquaintances telling them about the purses. A text back from an acquaintance asked why he was downtown. Edwards replied, "Lootin."