Jury convicts Strickland-Green of killing community activist

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

A Hennepin County District Court jury convicted Sid Strickland-Green for murdering local activist Tyrone Williams, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Tuesday.

The jury returned its verdict about 2 p.m. Tuesday after deliberating for about 11 hours over two days. Strickland-Green, 28, of Minneapolis, will be sentenced Feb. 11 on the unintentional second-degree murder conviction. Prosecutors will be seeking the maximum sentence under the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines.

“All murders are a tragedy, but the death of Mr. Williams is particularly painful,” Freeman said. “He was a good father, having just read to his children and heading to his job. But he had invested some of his free time to making his community a better place. This was a tricky case because the defense tried to convince the jury that our chief witness was the shooter. Thanks to the good work of our prosecutors, the jury realized that just wasn’t true and brought back the guilty verdict.”

In his closing argument Friday afternoon, Senior Hennepin County Attorney Dan Allard laid out the evidence. Several days before the 33-year-old Williams was shot on April 3, he was with his girlfriend and several other people at the Red Dragon restaurant. Strickland-Green was there, but something happened to him in the parking lot.

He came into the restaurant, drunk and upset and confronted his friend, Williams, asking him who had harassed him in the parking lot. Williams said he did not know and asked Strickland-Green to leave. He did but kept coming back, angry with Williams.

Late in the afternoon of April 3, Strickland-Green was in his parked 1987 yellow Cadillac. A mutual friend of both Williams and Strickland-Green, drove by, stopped and told him to follow him a couple of blocks away. There, they talked and smoked, Allard said.

The two men were talking when Williams came out of his mom’s house and greeted both men. But Strickland-Green started criticizing Williams for not having his back at the restaurant. Williams said it was because Strickland-Green was acting like a drunk fool. The witness went to his car and drove away and Strickland-Green went to his car and got a gun, Allard said.

The witness looked back and saw Williams stumble backward. A woman walking from the bus stop heard shots and saw Williams fall against the yellow car, Allard said, with an injury to the leg and a fatal shot to the abdomen.

Strickland-Green fled to Duluth, got rid of his cell phone and bought a new one. He then drove to Mississippi and texted his girlfriend that he was on the run. He eventually got rid of the car. His new phone showed he spoke to his mother 60 times in the two months he was on the run and she obviously told him that police were looking for him, Allard said.

Within days, police learned the name of the witness who was at the shooting. He talked to them and everything he told them was backed up by evidence, Allard said. A beer can with Strickland-Green’s DNA was found at the shooting scene. Surveillance video showed the yellow Cadillac following the witness’ car.

“The defendant did it himself,” Allard concluded. “The defendant pulled the trigger. Why else would he run?”

The jury acquitted Strickland-Green of the other count of intentional second-degree murder.