Benton County Grand Jury Indicts Men on 1st-Degree Murder Charges
FOLEY -- Three men charged with murder in a Sauk Rapids shooting last February could now face life in prison if they're convicted.
A Benton County grand jury has handed up 15-count indictments each against 20-year-old Willie White, 37-year-old Vance Laster and 26-year-old Nokomis Jefferson which include 1st-degree premeditated murder.
Benton County Attorney Philip Miller says additional charges of 2nd-degree murder, assault and arson are in the indictment, including several charges alleging they were committed for the benefit of a gang.
The three are charged with shooting and killing 25-year-old Joe Ditthideth and wounding 29-year-old Nathan Phrachomphonh.
The group traveled to a St. Paul bar in the early morning hours of February 16th but returned to Sauk Rapids a few hours later. That's when surveillance audio and video caught men arguing and gunshots being fired at 3466 Old Creek Place.
The victims were taken to the hospital where Ditthideth died from multiple gunshot wounds. Phrachomphonh suffered a gunshot to his abdomen and underwent successful surgery.
Jefferson and White are then accused of torching Ditthideth's car.
Jefferson, White and Laster will be arraigned on the new charges in Benton County District Court Wednesday at 11:00 a.m.