December 3, 2020

Adult

A 14-year-old boy has pleaded guilty in adult court to fatally shooting an older teenager seated in a parked pickup truck in St. Paul.

The St. Paul teen is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 17 after admitting Friday to second-degree unintentional murder in connection with the death on Sept. 1 of Jorge E. Batres, 17, of Coon Rapids, on the city’s East Side.

Officers were called to the 1200 block of Hazelwood Street about 6 p.m., where they found Batres in the driver’s seat of the pickup with a gunshot wound to the head. He was declared dead at the scene.

The teen’s mother and law enforcement agreed that he be prosecuted as an adult and receive a 12-year sentence, with the first eight years served while incarcerated, said county attorney spokesman Dennis Gerhardstein. The agreement also calls for dismissal of a second-degree intentional murder count.

Defense attorney Mike Padden declined to comment about the case.

The state sees very few suspects this young or younger accused of murder. Since 2001, there have been at least eight others who were 14 and younger charged with murder in Minnesota, according to a state judicial branch spokesman.

While the criminal complaint and the County Attorney’s Office has publicly identified the defendant by name, the Star Tribune is withholding his identity because of his age.

According to the criminal complaint:

One of two witnesses told police that the teen and Batres appeared to struggle in the pickup. One shot was fired while both were in the vehicle. The suspect got out and shot Batres again, took money from inside the vehicle and ran off.

Video surveillance from a nearby market showed the teen about half-hour earlier wearing the same yellow bandanna as described by one of the witnesses.

Batres’ sister told an investigator that he had accumulated more than $1,000. Investigators searched the suspect’s home and seized $1,525 and three bags of marijuana from his bedroom.

Officers located the teen, and he said he was at the market earlier “but went home to take a shower and then came back with his mother,” the complaint read.

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