MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The teen charged with killing popular artist Susan Spiller in north Minneapolis will stand trial as an adult.
Demetrius Wynne will turn 19 on Thursday, but he was just 14 when police say he killed Spiller at her home during a burglary.
Police believe he broke into Spiller’s home through a back window and violently attacked and killed her on either July 15 or July 16 in 2015. Spiller was later found beaten, strangled and stabbed five times. Her cellphone was also missing.
After Wynne was booked on another felony charge this summer, his fingerprints were taken and plugged into a computer database. They matched prints left on a window of Spiller’s home four years ago. A fingernail clipping found at the scene was also connected to Wynne — both key clues in cracking the years-old cold case.
A possible motive is still unclear, but we do know Wynne and his family lived next door to Spiller at the time.
Spiller was known for her friendly and loving heart throughout this close-knit artist’s community. Connie Beckers and Duane Atter say the latest development in the case is one step towards closure, but the hole left by the sudden loss of their friend will never go away.
“I’m kind of angry that a 14-year-old can be at a place in life to commit such a horrific crime,” Beckers said. “Overall, it is surprising and upsetting and disturbing.”
Her friends tell WCCO they don’t know whether or not they will be able to emotionally handle going to the trial, if there is one.
“I am happy that justice will be served,” Atter said.
For now, they are choosing to focus their attention on memories of the friend they lost.
“She was very caring and giving. She gave a whole lot to her neighborhood,” Beckers said.
A Hennepin County District Court judge ordered Wynne on Wednesday to stand trial as an adult. He is expected to make his first court appearance on the adult charges Thursday afternoon.