A 17-year-old has been charged with fatally shooting his mother’s best friend in the face in a Bloomington hotel room occupied by several children in a dispute over a $270 debt.
Dequan L. Smith, of St. Paul, was charged by juvenile petition Tuesday with second-degree intentional murder in connection with the killing on July 12 of Jennifer A. Swaggert, 39, of Minneapolis, in a room at the La Quinta Hotel at 7815 S. Nicollet Av. The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office has filed a motion to have Smith prosecuted in adult court, where punishment if convicted would be more severe.
Smith’s mother, 39-year-old Trimeanna N. Williams, of Woodbury, was charged Monday with aiding and abetting second-degree murder after the fact.
Williams and Smith were both arrested last week and remained in custody. According to the charges against Smith:
Shortly before noon, a housekeeper spotted Swaggert dead on the floor. Inside the room were various personal items, bottles of alcohol — some empty — and a stun gun. The next day, Williams called the hotel and said she wanted to retrieve the possessions.
Hotel management contacted police, who then spoke with Williams. She said that she and her best friend were in the room along with Williams’ three sons and three of Smith’s friends. She said that she and others used illicit drugs while together.
Williams’ 12-year-old son said Smith had been arguing with Swaggert and pointed a handgun at her for 15 to 30 seconds. Swaggert said, “Are you going to shoot me?” the charges said.
One of Smith’s friends said Williams and Swaggert were arguing over $270 that Swaggert owed for rent on a storage unit. Smith confronted Swaggert with the gun and asked her to pay his mother. Swaggert said no. Smith said “One, two …” and shot Swaggert in the face despite his mother’s objections, the friend said.
Williams and the children went to a nearby gas station and arranged for an Uber ride to south Minneapolis, then ended up at Powderhorn Park, where the gun was thrown in the lake by one of the friends.
Smith also was charged Tuesday with illegal possession of a firearm based on his being convicted in adult court in North Dakota for a felony drug offense.