Benton County Jury Returns Verdicts in Sauk Rapids Murder Trial
FOLEY -- A Benton County jury has returned verdicts in the murder trial of two men in the shooting death of a Sauk Rapids man and the wounding of a second man.
The jury found 21-year-old Willie White guilty of 2nd-degree intentional murder, 2nd-degree murder committed during a felony assault, 1st-degree assault with a deadly weapon and 2nd-degree arson. He was acquitted on two counts of 1st-degree murder, and 2nd-degree murder - drive-by shooting. The jury deadlocked on one count of 2nd-degree attempted murder.
Twenty-seven-year-old Nokomis Jefferson was acquitted on being an accomplice on all counts except 2nd-degree arson.
The men, along with 38-year-old Vance Laster were accused of murder in the shooting death of 25-year-old Joe Ditthideth and wounding 29-year-old Nathan Phrachomphonh in February of 2018.
The men were shot at 3466 Old Creek Place in Sauk Rapids after an argument broke out. 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 then torched Ditthideth's car.
Laster pleaded guilty to a charge of aiding an offender and being an accessory after the fact in November. He'll be sentenced March 13th.
White and Jefferson's sentencing date has not yet been set.