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Minneapolis Man Convicted In Murder Of 13-Year-Old

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 27-year-old Minneapolis man was sentenced Wednesday to life without parole for his role in the shooting death of a 13-year-old boy in 2011.

Kemen Lavatos Taylor was convicted on nine criminal counts, including the first-degree murder of Rayjon Gomez, 13, and the attempted murder of two of Gomez’s teenaged friends, according to Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman.

On Aug. 24, 2011, Taylor convinced Derrick Catchings and Donquarius Copeland – who were 15 and 16 at the time, respectively – to fire weapons down a north Minneapolis alley at Gomez and his friends.

Catchings and Copeland both pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, and each testified against Taylor in court.

Taylor, according to testimony, sought revenge after his brother was wounded by members of a rival gang. He picked up Catchings and Copeland in a van, and told the teens to fire at three other teens who were riding their bikes in an alley near North 17th and Russell avenues.

Catchings later admitted that Gomez was not the intended target. The jury reached the guilty verdict in about five hours.

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