Two men indicted for 1999 murder, wounding

Friday, May 16, 2014

A Hennepin County Grand Jury indicted two men on first-degree murder charges in a 1999 shooting death, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Friday.

The grand jury indicted Earl Vang, 32, of St. Paul on eight counts related to the July 9, 1999 shooting death of Miguel McElroy and the wounding of his father Curtis Campbell. The grand jury indicted Tou Lu Yang, 39, on the same eight counts.

The 1999 investigation established there were two men at the scene of the shooting at 24th and Lyndale Avenues North. 

In 1999, Tou Lu Yang was convicted on several counts, including aiding and abetting second-degree murder, in McElroy’s death and has filed several appeals over the years. Hennepin County District Court Judge Bruce Peterson last summer ordered a new trial for Yang based on ineffective assistance of counsel, a witness’ new statement and new evidence that identified potential suspects.

Based upon this new evidence, Minneapolis police and Hennepin County prosecutors were able to reopen the case and develop new witnesses and evidence that allowed both Yang and Vang to be indicted on the first-degree murder charges and for the first time identify Vang as the second shooter.

 “Once Judge Peterson determined that a new trial was warranted for Mr. Yang, we took it as an opportunity to continue to seek justice for the victim’s family,” Freeman said. “Minneapolis police investigators worked hard to successfully test  DNA that couldn’t be tested in 1999 and they and our prosecutors were able to interview witnesses who confirmed that Mr. Vang was part of the murder. We are very pleased with how hard everyone worked and the result is we have a chance to put these two men away for life.” 

Vang was arrested last week while the grand jury was deliberating and was charged with second-degree murder in the case. Bail was set at $200,000, which he posted.

According to the criminal complaint, a couple hours before the shooting, McElroy’s brother and Campbell’s son, Dominick McElroy, met with two Asian men who gave him $60 to purchase marijuana for them. At about 8 p.m., Vang and Yang saw Miguel McElroy and Campbell near a store and demanded that McElroy get their money back from his brother. Yang and Vang then pulled out guns and started shooting.

The grand jury indicted both men for: first-degree murder, first-degree murder crime committed for benefit of a gang, second-degree murder, second-degree murder crime committed for benefit of a gang, attempted first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder crime committed for benefit of a gang, attempted second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder crime committed for benefit of a gang.