Antoine Suggs was found guilty Friday on four counts of second-degree murder for fatally shooting four people in St. Paul, then leaving their bodies in a Wisconsin cornfield.
The jury of nine men and three women began deliberations shortly before 12:30 p.m., and came back with the guilty verdict around 6 p.m. Suggs had faced eight charges related to the shooting: four for second-degree murder, and four for second-degree murder while committing a felony — a lesser charge, which prosecutors added in the last day, alleging he committed a felony assault against each victim, leading to their deaths.
Suggs was found not guilty on those charges. He will be sentenced for the second-degree murder convictions on May 15. He faces a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison for each of the four counts.
The victims were Nitosha Flug-Presley of Stillwater, 30; Jasmine C. Sturm, 30; Matthew Pettus, 26; and Loyace Foreman III, 35, all of St. Paul.
"My daughter and her friends got justice," Damone Presley, the father of Flug-Presley, said after the verdict. "It's kind of a weight lifted off, I believe, all of the families' shoulders."
In testimony Thursday, Suggs admitted to the shootings, but said he was acting in self-defense after the four attempted to rob him.
"I was just trying to shoot to stop people from attacking me," Suggs said, wiping away tears. "Everything after that was just me being scared — confused at the situation."
The Sept. 12, 2021, shooting rattled St. Paul residents and brought calls for justice from the victims' families. For trial attendees, the hours of testimony and evidence have been revealing and emotional.
Prosecutors Colin Haley and Andrew Johnson argued that Suggs meant to kill Flug-Presley, Sturm, Pettus and Foreman when he shot them after a night of drinking on St. Paul's W. 7th Street. They said Suggs shot the four just after 3:30 a.m. and verified they were dead before calling his father, Darren Osborne.
Footage from traffic cameras, gas station security and a Dunn County, Wis., sheriff's squad showed Suggs in a Mercedes SUV and Osborne in a Nissan Rogue traveling in tandem. The pair allegedly left the bodies in the vehicle in a cornfield 60 miles from the scene of the shootings.
Osborne pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years in prison for helping hide the victims' bodies.
Defense attorney Kevin DeVore told jurors that Suggs flew from Arizona to Minnesota to attend his son's football games and see his daughter off to her first day of kindergarten. Suggs had brought $14,000 in cash to spend on his kids' school supplies and to have fun, DeVore said.
Suggs met Flug-Presley through a friend, Dominique Neal-Hill, the day before the shooting, DeVore said. Neal-Hill loaned Suggs his Mercedes SUV, and also asked Suggs to hold onto his gun for him, DeVore said.
On the day of the shootings, DeVore said, Flug-Presley, Sturm, Pettus and Foreman learned about the cash Suggs was carrying and tried to rob him. Pettus allegedly punched Suggs in the back of the head while Flug-Presley pointed Neal-Hill's gun, which had been left in the SUV's glove compartment, at Suggs.
Suggs said he shot the four, adding that he thought Pettus or Foreman might be armed because Foreman was clutching his waist — and one of them allegedly said, "I always got it on me."
Police found six spent shell casings inside the vehicle.
Prosecutors pushed against Suggs' claim during closing arguments, saying that his use of force was unreasonable.
"Just because he testified doesn't mean that everything he said was accurate," Haley said. "Reason, common sense — that is what I will ask you to consider when evaluating all the evidence you have heard."
A group of about a dozen of Suggs family members called out to him and said "we love you" as deputies escorted him from the courtroom after the verdict was read.