Jury finds man guilty of manslaughter in fatal shooting

Wednesday,

A Minneapolis man was found guilty by a jury of first-degree manslaughter for the shooting death of his former girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend in August of 2019, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday.

On Dec. 22, following a two-week jury trial, Derrick Blanton, 39, of Minneapolis, was found guilty of first-degree manslaughter for fatally shooting 29-year-old Isiah Smith on Aug. 18, 2019. Blanton was facing second-degree murder charges, but the jury found him guilty of the lesser offense based on a variety of contributing factors, including that Blanton was acting in the “heat of passion” and that he was provoked by such words or acts from Smith as would incite a person of ordinary self-control in similar circumstances.   

The incident occurred at the former girlfriend’s apartment in South Minneapolis, where Blanton shot Smith multiple times after a fight broke out between the two men.

Based on presumptive sentencing guidelines, Blanton is facing 86 months in prison. His sentencing date has been set for Feb. 9 at 9:00 a.m.

According to the criminal complaint, on Aug. 18, 2019, Smith's ex-girlfriend, and former girlfriend to Blanton, reported the shooting when she returned home to see Smith lying face down outside her apartment surrounded by a pool of blood.

Several witnesses told police they heard multiple gunshots, and saw two men and a child run from the apartment building, get into a black Dodge Charger and speed away from the scene, the complaint states.

The complaint also reports that video surveillance shows Blanton, his friend S.W., and Blanton’s child fleeing the area. Blanton was apprehended shortly after, and admitted to police that he shot Smith several times after getting into a physical fight.