Man sentenced to two consecutive life terms

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Hennepin County District Court judge sentenced Ishmael Roberts to two consecutive life terms for killing his aunt and his nephew in 2012.

Hennepin County District Court Judge Kathryn Quaintance handed down the extraordinary sentence, which means he will die in prison, Tuesday afternoon. Quaintance also had to determine earlier whether Roberts, 24, was mentally ill.

In April, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office and Roberts’ defense presented to Judge Quaintance stipulated facts for her to decide whether he committed the murders. On April 14, she found him guilty of first -degree murder in the Oct. 29 killing of his mother, Beatrice Wilson, 57, and his nephew Peter Wilson, 13, in his mother’s north Minneapolis home. He had shown up at the house at 3 a.m. after not having contact with his mother for about two years. He used a sword to kill both of them, took his mother’s car and fled to Iowa, where he was arrested.

On April 21, Roberts waived his right to a jury trial on the mental illness portion and Judge Quaintance heard a week’s worth of testimony from three psychologists and an independent psychiatrist that the county attorney’s office hired.

On July 7, she ruled that the defense did not meet its burden of proving by a “preponderance of the evidence” that the defendant didn’t understand the nature of his actions. Tuesday, she sentenced Roberts to two life terms without parole and ran them consecutively.