The fatal New Year’s Eve shooting of a Minneapolis real estate agent may have been part of a murder-for-hire scheme revolving around a dispute over a recording deal, according to new court documents.
Authorities have charged four people in connection with the widely publicized death of 28-year-old Monique Baugh, who was lured to a phony home showing in Maple Grove, kidnapped, and later found shot to death in a north Minneapolis alley.
But newly unsealed search warrants outline a complicated murder plot and allege at least eight people had varying roles in the slaying. At least one of the suspects remains on the run.
The warrants seeking phone records and other evidence also reference the FBI’s involvement in the investigation. A police spokesman said Friday he could not discuss what remains an open case, while the local FBI field office said policy bars it from confirming or denying the existence of any investigation.
Police believe that Baugh’s boyfriend, Jon Mitchell-Momoh, was the intended victim of the alleged plot. Less than an hour before Baugh’s death, a masked gunman walked into the couple’s North Side home and shot Mitchell-Momoh, 29, while the couple’s young children were nearby, court records show.
Mitchell-Momoh, who survived the shooting, told detectives he believed that he was targeted either because he had been “flashing a lot of money” on his social media accounts or that people suspected him of cooperating with police, according to court filings. Investigators learned that Mitchell-Momoh had a falling out with a former friend over a record deal signing, the warrant said.
Following the shooting, homicide detectives got a tip that a paid hit had been placed on Mitchell-Momoh by the former friend-turned-rival, the court filings show. Before his involvement in this case, the rival, identified only by his initials in court papers, was the subject of a two-year police investigation of another unspecified crime. His status was not known Friday.
This week, prosecutors charged Shante Davis, 38, of Minneapolis, with being an accomplice after the fact. Cellphone records and video surveillance placed Davis — the wife of Cedric Berry, 41, and sister of Berry “Big” Davis, 40 — with the two suspects when they picked up a rental truck the day before Baugh’s slaying.
Both men have since been charged with second-degree murder for their alleged roles in the case.
Other court records show that all three were on authorities’ radar well before the Baugh slaying.
Affidavits filed earlier this year showed that Berry was being investigated on suspicion of selling heroin and fentanyl throughout north Minneapolis, while sharing an apartment in Robbinsdale with his wife, which Berry Davis was also known to frequent. The affidavits say that as recently as November, both Cedric Berry and Berry Davis had been under court-authorized surveillance by members of a local drug task force.
Shante Davis is also accused of buying at least three cellphones used in the alleged operation, court records say. One of the phones was said to have been used by another suspect, Elsa Segura, 28, to call Baugh and set up a meeting in Maple Grove under the pretense of a home showing. Segura, a former Hennepin County probation officer, faces charges of kidnapping. She, Shante Davis and Berry remain jailed.
Berry, a suspected leader of the Family Mob gang who goes by “Big Ced” among other aliases, made a brief court appearance Friday, where his case was continued to April 3. After his arrest at a St. Louis Park hotel, authorities searched his car and found items that included two walkie-talkies, a black ski mask, some heroin and duct tape.
The investigation revealed that a third man may have also been present with Berry and Davis during the alleged kidnapping. An informant told police that suspect — also identified only by his initials in court filings — was the one who actually fired the shots that killed Baugh, authorities said. The was arrested on unrelated charges of escaping federal custody. The Star Tribune is not naming him because he hasn’t been formally charged in Baugh’s killing.
On Dec. 4, federal prison officials in Kentucky put the man on an overnight Greyhound bus to Minneapolis, where he was supposed to report to the Volunteers for America Residential Re-entry Center to serve out the remainder of his 63-month sentence for firearms possession. He never showed up. Federal agents tracked him to an apartment in Mounds View the following month, where they arrested him and seized a 9-millimeter pistol that had been stuffed under a mattress, court filings say. Others in the apartment said the gun belonged to the man.
Court records show that Berry Davis, who fled as authorities were closing in, is believed to have left the state.
Homicide detectives also tracked down two people who admitted to renting the U-Haul truck for Berry in exchange for heroin, but neither was named in a search warrant affidavit, and it’s not clear whether they will be charged. A search of the truck, which smelled of ammonia, turned up zip ties and adhesive tape packaging, among other evidence.
Police also lifted one of Berry’s fingerprints from duct tape “that was used to bound Baugh before she was executed,” records say.
Mitchell-Momoh, who suffered gunshot wounds to the groin, shoulder and chest, said in an earlier interview with the Star Tribune that he’s faced backlash on social media because of Baugh’s death. He denied being responsible for what happened.
“I believe this is all because of jealousy and envy,” he said. “There are people out there that would rather see me dead than successful. Even if that means kill the mother of my children.”
He is in a custody battle with Baugh’s parents, who in court filings said he is indirectly to blame for their daughter’s death.
“The father’s lifestyle is a danger to the children,” they wrote.
Staff writers Andy Mannix and Chao Xiong contributed to this report.
Libor Jany • 612-849-5440 Twitter: @StribJany