Two men guilty on all counts in kidnapping, slaying of Minneapolis Realtor

·4 min read

A Hennepin County jury has convicted two men of kidnapping a real estate agent from a fake home showing in 2019 and fatally shooting her in a Minneapolis alley.

Cedric Berry and Berry Davis, both 42, were tried in Hennepin County District Court on identical charges — aiding and abetting premeditated first-degree murder, aiding and abetting attempted premeditated first-degree murder, aiding and abetting kidnapping, and aiding and abetting first-degree felony murder while committing kidnapping. The jury returned their verdict just after 5 p.m. Friday.

In their closing arguments Friday, prosecutors said the men were part of a sprawling scheme aimed at getting to Baugh's boyfriend, Jon Mitchell-Momoh, who had a feud with a former business associate and known drug dealer, Lyndon Wiggins. Mitchell-Momoh was shot and wounded three times — twice in the chest and once in the groin — after Baugh was kidnapped from a house in Maple Grove on Dec. 31, 2019.

"They kept her for three terrifying hours while they went and put three bullets in her partner in front of their children, and they drove her to a dark alley in north Minneapolis in a U-Haul … and executed her," said Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Paige Starkey.

The defense teams told jurors in their closing arguments that prosecutors pieced an incomplete case together under pressure from the attention Baugh's killing received from the community and local and national press. One of Berry's attorneys, Tanya Bishop, said no witnesses have identified her client at any of the crime scenes, and that police and prosecutors failed to thoroughly investigate other leads and suspects.

The day Baugh was killed Berry spent his time selling drugs, Bishop said, adding that he is being used "in an elaborate scheme as a patsy when he was doing regular things that he thought were part of a drug deal and nothing more. What he did is what he usually did for drugs, drug dealing — renting vehicles, purchase burner phones, changed his number … Cedric Berry sits here innocent …"

Starkey told jurors Berry is "most likely the shooter," and that three gunshots penetrated Baugh's brain, heart and spine.

Berry and Davis are the first of five suspects charged in the case to go to trial. Wiggins and his girlfriend, former Hennepin County probation officer Elsa Segura, are awaiting trial on the same charges filed against Berry and Davis.

Berry's wife, Shante Davis, is awaiting trial on one count of aiding an offender. She is also Berry Davis's sister.

Berry testified Thursday that he, Berry Davis and Wiggins all worked together selling drugs.

Mitchell-Momoh testified last week that he left Wiggins' music label in 2019 and Wiggins later accused him of stealing music. Starkey told jurors Friday that in the fall or winter of the same year, Wiggins was arrested and told Segura he believed Mitchell-Momoh had "snitched" on him to authorities.

Wiggins pleaded guilty this past May in federal court to possessing and intending to distribute 33,140 imitation oxycodone pills containing fentanyl. He agreed to a prison term of at least 15 years and up to life in prison. It's unknown if the case is related to Wiggins' alleged complaint about Mitchell-Momoh.

In November 2019, Berry's apartment was raided and he was arrested in a drug investigation; he released from jail without being charged, Starkey said.

According to Starkey: On Dec. 29, 2019, Berry purchased a cellphone and registered it under a fake name. That same day, Berry, Davis and Wiggins all traveled to Segura's house, and later to a shopping center where Davis purchased "murder supplies" that included cleaning solutions, two-way radios and a tent. Segura allegedly used the phone Berry purchased to lure Baugh to the fake home showing.

Cellphone data showed that Berry and Davis circled the Maple Grove home for 36 minutes on Dec. 30 — the first date Segura allegedly set up Baugh, Starkey said. Another real estate agent had also arrived to show the same house, and stayed at the address longer than Baugh.

It's unclear if the Dec. 30 incident was a test run or a thwarted kidnapping, Starkey said.

Surveillance video showed Berry and Davis kidnapping Baugh in a U-Haul truck on Dec. 31, Starkey said.

Berry testified Thursday that he spent the day selling drugs and had procured a U-Haul that he briefly used to move some personal belongings then left alone because Wiggins needed it to transport marijuana.

Starkey told jurors Berry's testimony was "garbled nonsense and feeble denial," and that six of his fingerprints were found on the duct tape wrapped around Baugh's wrists and around her neck and that his DNA was also found on zip ties found in the U-Haul.

Davis' DNA was found on the gear shift of the U-Haul, Starkey said.

One of Davis' attorneys, Matt Jamet, told jurors that prosecutors built their case on circumstantial evidence and that the cellphone data doesn't necessarily correlate to a specific person because Berry was known to use several phones and multiple people had access to them.

Chao Xiong • 612-270-4708

Twitter: @ChaoStrib

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