Cepeda pleads guilty to killing woman in bus shelter

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Gerald Cepeda pleaded guilty to fatally shooting a young woman at a bus shelter and asked to be immediately sentenced, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Tuesday.

Cepeda, 50, of Minneapolis, was sentenced to 306 months in prison, or more than 25 years, after pleading guilty to the intentional second-degree murder of Jessica St. Marie, 28, of Wadena in the early evening of Oct. 13.

In court Tuesday afternoon, Cepeda admitted that he approached St. Marie as she was standing near the bus shelter on the northwest corner of Lake Street East and Park Avenue South.

“I did not know her name at the time,” Cepeda said, but I did approach her.”

His lawyer asked if he took out a handgun and shot her twice.

“I was in possession of a firearm and I shot it twice,” he answered.

According to other information and the complaint, Cepeda first went into a convenience store near the bus shelter. He argued with a woman in the store, then left and approached St. Marie. Something he said to her sparked an argument, but he finally left and walked a couple of blocks to his home on Park Avenue.

About 15 minutes later, approximately 6:55 p.m., he returned to the bus shelter, where St. Marie was sitting on the bench. Without saying a word, he pulled out his gun and shot her twice. A witness drove by just after the shooting and saw Cepeda walking away and followed him until he turned into an alley behind where Cepeda lived.

St. Marie’s brother gave a victim impact statement, telling Hennepin County District Court Judge Daniel Mabley the great loss her death has been to the family.

Cepeda told Judge Mabley that he apologized to the city of Minneapolis, the court, his family and the St. Marie family “for what transpired that day.”