Minneapolis man sentenced to 92 months in prison


A Minneapolis man was sentenced to 92 months in prison for illegal gun possession in connection with a robbery committed by two others, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Tuesday.

Ryan Howard, 26, pleaded guilty to prohibited person in possession of a firearm and was given the higher sentence Friday because he is a career offender.

Howard’s co-defendants, William Erickson and Aaron Smith pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting aggravated robbery back in August. Erickson was sentenced to 80 months in prison and Smith to 78 months.

According to the criminal complaint, on May 25, at approximately 10:46 p.m. police responded to a report of a physical fight at a home in the Ericsson neighborhood. When they arrived, the officers saw a man running out of a house who said his arm was broken. Police went into the house and in the basement they found another man sitting in a tipped over recliner with his hands tied up with white cord. He had a gunshot wound to his foot and a head injury. He told the officers he had been shot in the foot, pistol whipped and water boarded.

A third man was lying on the floor. His hands were tied to a pillar with an electrical cord and he had a head injury. Officers recovered numerous guns and ammunition from the basement and all three victims were transported to the hospital, the complaint stated.

The man with the broken arm told police that he had stopped by the house to visit the man later found in the recliner. He was walking with Howard, Erickson and Smith, when he was struck on the back of his head with a hard object. He blacked out for a second and then all three men jumped him, striking him with a Captain Morgan bottle and their fists. The man told police that Howard, Smith and Erickson yelled “shoot him” several times and he believed they had a gun. The victim had a permit to carry and was wearing his gun in a holster. The three men took it from him and tried to take off his clothes, while talking about taking him downstairs and tying him up. He saw Erickson grab a gun from a table, but the police arrived at the house at that moment and he escaped, according to the complaint.

The man found in the recliner told officers that Howard, Smith and Erickson were at his house and followed him into his bedroom where they surrounded him, searched his room and almost ripped off his pants while trying to search his pockets. He said they stomped on him, tied his hands with an electrical cord and assaulted him multiple times. He said the defendants had guns and said they were going to kill him, the complaint stated.

Criminal Complaint (PDF)