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Jury Convicts 2 Men In ’07 St. Paul Triple Murder

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – A federal jury found two convicted murderers guilty on Tuesday for the deaths of three people during a St. Paul home invasion in 2007.

Tyvarus Lee Lindsey, 29, and Rashad Raleigh, 33, were each found guilty on three counts of murder while using a firearm in a drug crime and one count of possessing a gun while committing a drug crime. Both men are already serving prison sentences for other unrelated murders.

Lindsey and Raleigh were accused in the March 23, 2007, killings of Maria McLay, 32; her fiance, Otahl “Telly” Saunders, 31; and McLay’s 15-year-old daughter, Brittany Kekedakis. McLay’s other two children, ages 7 and 10, were unharmed and ran to their grandmother’s nearby house for help.

Prosecutors said Lindsey and Raleigh were among at least four men who burst into McLay’s home intending to steal drugs and money from Saunders. Testimony indicated the intruders found some drugs in Saunders’ Lincoln Navigator parked out back, but only after they tortured him with a pair of tin snips.

Witnesses testified that Raleigh said that when one intruder inadvertently uttered his street name — “Shoddy” — the intruders feared the family could identify them, so they killed the two adults and the teen, mistaking her for an adult.

No physical evidence linked Lindsey or Raleigh to the crime. Instead, much of the evidence prosecutors introduced came from the testimony of convicts and ex-convicts who said Lindsey or Raleigh confessed to them.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that both men were shackled at trial — with at least four deputy U.S. marshals in the courtroom — because both are serving sentences at a state prison. Raleigh is doing life without parole for the May 2007 beating death of former Villanova basketball star Howard Porter, while Lindsey is serving a nearly 36-year prison sentence for an April 2005 murder that happened during a robbery.

In his closing argument, Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Wilton described the crime scene and the fear he said the victims must have felt as the intruders burst in, rounded up the home’s occupants, tortured Saunders and then shot the victims.

Wilton said the crime was carried out in “a calculated and practiced way. This crime was not done by novices or petty criminals.”

Defense attorneys attacked the witnesses’ credibility in their closing arguments. Neither Lindsey nor Raleigh testified. Both face a potential maximum penalty of life in prison.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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