A man suspected of helping to rob and murder a St. Paul man behind his home last year has been acquitted.
Shaun Lamar Travis, 26, was found not guilty Friday for aiding and abetting the murder of 22-year-old Alex Becker. His defense lawyer Robert Plesha declined to comment on the verdict.
Becker was found shot to death yards from his home on Dec. 27, 2022. Travis was arrested months later on suspicion of helping two others to rob and murder Becker. Those suspects, 21-year-old Arteze Kinerd and 19-year-old Detwan Allen, have been charged with second-degree murder.
Opening statements for Allen's trial were Dec. 7. Kinerd's trial is set to start Feb. 26.
Travis' trial began in late October with testimony from Becker's parents, neighbors and from authorities who responded the night of his murder. Prosecutors said Becker's murder was senseless and argued that Travis helped to ensure his death.
Evidence published during the trial sought to prove that with footage of Travis' confession that he was at the murder scene that night with Kinerd and Allen. Becker was walking home from a late shift at work when Travis, Kinerd and Allen passed by in a black sedan. The three got out of the sedan and are seen on security footage following Becker into an alley that leads to his home.
Additional footage captured the sound of gunshots, followed moments later by the black sedan leaving the scene.
When interviewed by police, Travis said he heard the gunshots and was close enough to feel his ears ring but did not see who fired. Plesha argued during the trial that his client didn't know the others would rob and kill Becker, explaining that Travis thought they were out to buy marijuana. The shock of the shooting was so much that Plesha said Travis threw up in the car.
"He couldn't have anticipated what would happen," Plesha said during opening statements. "It was done suddenly without any provocation"
Becker was shot six times and found with no pulse or breath near his family's garage. His mother, Tara Becker, was awake waiting for him to return, crying on the stand as she testified to hearing the gunshots that killed him. She said Alex was a kind person who befriended everyone he knew, adding that he was not known to get into trouble.
On social media, Becker said she was disappointed in Friday's verdict.
"To say I am disappointed in the judge is a gross understatement. He spoke to Travis as if he was lecturing a young person for skipping school," Becker's post said. "I hope Travis takes this enormous gift the judge handed him and starts making efforts to make the world a better place instead of taking good away from the world."
Allen's jury trial continues Monday at 9 a.m.