A Richfield teenager arrested in July in connection with the beating death of a homeless man in North Minneapolis will stand trial as an adult on second-degree murder charges.
Andre Zedrick Steward Jr., 17, is charged with aiding and abetting in second-degree murder, which carries a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison. He waived certification proceedings before a Hennepin County judge last week and was ordered to stand trial as an adult.
Police say Steward and Willis Esposito Richardson, 23, of Minneapolis attacked 50-year-old Harry Lee Brown in North Minneapolis on June 29, with Richardson hitting Brown with a baseball bat and Steward punching the victim with his fists. The two stole $5 from Brown to buy liquor, according to authorities.
According to the criminal complaint, signed by Minneapolis Police Sgt. Christopher Karakostas, police found Brown lying on a sidewalk just before 9:30 p.m. with blood on the back of his head and cracked ribs. Brown was not breathing and had no pulse, and the pockets of his pants were partially torn out.
Brown was taken to a hospital and placed on life support. He was removed from life support July 7 and pronounced dead on July 8; an autopsy determined that he died of blunt-force trauma, according to the complaint.
A witness reportedly told police that he and two friends ran into Steward and Richardson on Broadway Avenue, and the two suspects began talking about doing a “stain,” which is slang for robbery. The group was walking in the area of 18th Street and Bryant Avenue when Brown approached, carrying a liquor bag, the witness told police.
The witness said Richardson struck Brown in the legs with the baseball bat he was carrying, and Steward punched him in the face, then stole money from his pockets. According to the complaint, the witness said he and his two friends fled, but they later saw Steward and Richardson walking toward a liquor store on Broadway, and Richardson was no longer carrying the baseball bat.
A second witness reportedly told police that he also saw Richardson and Steward attack the man, who then lay down and “went to sleep,” the witness said. In addition, a third witness reportedly told police that he found a baseball bat in his yard on the 1800 block of Bryant Avenue North.
Steward later admitted to police that he hit Brown and took $5 from his pockets because he “needed some money to have a good time,” according to the complaint. He said he and Richardson took the money and bought liquor at a nearby liquor store, and that he was worried that he might have killed Brown, the complaint charges.
Richardson also admitted to police that he hit Brown in the legs with a baseball bat, which he later abandoned in a yard on Bryant Avenue, according to the complaint. He said Steward was the one who took money from the victim’s pockets.
Both Steward and Richardson remain in the Hennepin County Jail, Richardson on a $1 million bond and Steward without bond. Richardson has an omnibus hearing scheduled Oct. 11 and Steward Oct. 15 in Hennepin County District Court.