By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The man charged with murder and attempted murder in the St. Paul bar shooting last weekend has a long criminal history, and court records show 33-year-old Terry Brown should never have had a gun.

It appears that at every turn Brown was given breaks by the system, breaks that allowed him to be free to go into the Seventh Street Truck bar Saturday night.

READ MORE: Terry Brown, Charged In Deadly St. Paul Bar Shootings, Was Barred From Possessing A Gun

In 2018, Brown was charged with a felony for violating a no-contact order in a domestic case. He had a long record, with felonies including a 2016 conviction for violating the same no-contact order. In the 2018 case, he twice missed court dates and warrants were issued.

Yet when it came time for sentencing, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office asked for a downward departure, saying this was a man who was “particularly amenable to probation.”

In the end, his sentence for the no-contact order was 180 days in the workhouse and five years of probation.

Criminal defense attorney Joe Tamburino reviewed Brown’s record and said it “should be a wake-up call.”

“You can’t keep releasing people who are always being arrested and always violating probation,” Tamburino said.

Brown’s criminal record doesn’t end there. In April 2018, he gave a false name to police. The sentence he received was 91 days in the Ramsey County Jail, but he was released after serving 29 of them.

In September 2020, he was charged with DWI for driving twice over the legal limit at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport’s lower level, with an open bottle of cognac.

READ MORE: After Deadly Mass Shooting, St. Paul Pastor Wonders: Where’s The Outrage?

On Aug. 17, 202, Brown was sentenced to a year in the workhouse, but he was almost immediately released and given credit for 33 days.

WCCO asked attorney Tamburino if this was standard practice.

“In today’s world, unfortunately it is,” he said. “People are being released on no bail or very low bail regardless of how many times they have been in the system.”

The day after the mass shooting, St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell made a plea.

“We all need to do better — the police, prosecutors, and the bench — to hold people unapologetically to account for the continued violence in our city,” Axtell said.

“It was a negotiated disposition,” the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office said in a statement, “supported by the victim and other case specific factors.”

Legal experts cite COVID-19 concerns to keep jail populations low, and also new regulations for handling lesser crimes in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death.

The other suspect in the case, 29-year-old Devondre Phillips, made his first court appearance Wednesday. He’s charged with 12 counts of attempted murder for his role in the shooting. His next court date is set for Nov. 9.

Esme Murphy