West St. Paul man pleads guilty to murder, agrees to more than 38-year prison sentence
Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty announced today that her office secured a second-degree murder guilty plea from Lionell Jacque Hicks, 32, of West St. Paul, with an agreement for a 463-month prison sentence. Hicks pled guilty late yesterday to one count of second-degree murder and admitted to shooting and killing one individual outside White Castle on Lake Street in Minneapolis in the early morning of August 15, 2021. Sentencing is scheduled for November 21 at 8:30 a.m.
"This was a callous, destructive act that brought unimaginable pain to the victim's family and my thoughts are with them today," Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty said. "Prioritizing community safety is paramount. Communities are suffering because there are too many guns in irresponsible hands that cause minor incidents to turn violent – and deadly – far too often. When necessary, we will use long prison sentences to protect the community and incapacitate those who commit this violence."
According to the criminal complaint, the shooting came after a brief, random encounter at the White Castle drive-through. Minneapolis police were dispatched to 100 W. Lake St. in response to the shooting. Officers found an unconscious male sitting in the driver’s seat of a black Chevy Malibu. Police attempted lifesaving measured on the victim until they were relieved by Emergency Medical Services (EMS). The victim was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after.
Video surveillance obtained from nearby businesses and from civilian dash cams showed a white Hyundai attempting to leave the restaurant drive-through. The Hyundai was followed by the victim’s black Malibu. The driver of the Hyundai asked the driver of a red Jeep to back up so they could exit. As the Hyundai passed the Jeep, words were exchanged between occupants of all three vehicles.
Hicks, a passenger of the Jeep, leaned out the window and fired several shots into the black Malibu, striking the victim twice and killing him before the Jeep left the scene.