When jurors acquitted Issac O. Maiden nearly two years ago in the near-fatal beating of Ray Widstrand on St. Paul’s East Side, a judge delivered a stern warning before he walked out of court a free man.
“Mr. Maiden, a friendly word of advice — you dodged one here,” Ramsey County District Court Judge Salvador Rosas said on that November day. “I have no doubt you’ll be back.”
His words were prophetic.
On Saturday, Maiden, 21, was back — jailed this time on suspicion of driving the car used in a gang-related shooting in St. Paul that left a teenager wounded.
It was the second time since his acquittal in the Aug. 4, 2013, attack on Widstrand that Maiden was charged with a crime. Earlier this year, he pleaded guilty in Hennepin County District Court to disorderly conduct for fighting with a 16-year-old boy in Minneapolis a month after his acquittal.
The criminal complaint filed against Maiden this week in Ramsey County District Court in the drive-by shooting painted a picture of a man who didn’t heed Rosas’ advice.
“Maiden said he was high on Xanax and must have blacked out,” charges read. “He did not recall being near Rice Street and University Avenue. He denied knowing anything about the gun recovered from the car he was driving.”
Maiden was charged with a crime committed for the benefit of a gang and drive-by discharge of a firearm in the July 18 shooting. The front seat passenger, Kacey L. Feiner, 18, of St. Paul, was charged with the same counts.
Maiden and Feiner are members of the HAM Crazy gang, authorities allege.
According to the complaint in the drive-by shooting: Shortly before 8 p.m. July 18, Maiden was driving a car that was stopped at a red light at Rice Street and University Avenue. The car slowly rolled into the intersection, crossing the light rail tracks. A passenger then pointed a gun out the window and shot at a group of six to 10 men standing on the corner.
The targeted men were standing on the southwest corner of the intersection, a witness told police. The men fled, but one fell before regaining his footing. The witness told police that the shooter appeared to be in the right rear passenger seat of the car.
A nearby police officer heard the shots and drove to the area. Other officers arrived and stopped the car Maiden was driving as it sped south on Rice Street toward John Ireland Boulevard, the complaint said.
Police arrested Maiden, Feiner — who was sitting in the front passenger seat — and two 18-year-old men who were also in the car. The other two men have not been charged, and Ramsey County Attorney spokesman Dennis Gerhardstein said cases against them have not been presented for possible charges.
Sgt. Paul Paulos, a St. Paul police spokesman, said the shooting remains under investigation, and that cases against the two other men will be presented if and when evidence allows.
A Glock 9-millimeter handgun was allegedly recovered from under the rear seat cushion.
Feiner declined to answer questions about the shooting. Police later spoke to a boy, 17, who had been shot. The complaint did not specify where the teen was hit, but said he felt a “ringing in his hand” and saw blood “coming from his left arm.”
Police saw several members of the Hit Squad gang waiting in the hospital for the victim, the charges said.
Surveillance video from the light-rail platform captured the shooting, and nine spent 9mm casings were recovered at the scene.
Maiden had been charged as one of several attackers who kicked, beat and stomped on Widstrand, causing permanent mental and physical damage. He was acquitted of first-degree assault, first-degree aggravated robbery and two counts of a crime committed for the benefit of a gang after jurors heard confusing and contradictory testimony from witnesses.
“We just thought there wasn’t enough proof,” juror Tom Paulson said at the time. “A lot of [jurors] felt [witnesses] were covering for themselves.”