Deandre Turner sentenced to 27.5 years for ‘retaliation’ shooting

Deandre Turner has been sentenced to 330 months, or 27.5 years, in prison for a deadly shooting in 2021.

Turner was on trial for the killing of Drew McGinley outside a large memorial vigil involving several dozen people with ties to the Vice Lords gang. 

The shooting happened June 30, 2021, outside the Elks Lodge on Plymouth Avenue in north Minneapolis. McGinley was described by friends and loved ones at the time as a trusted community member, who gave his time to mentoring and coaching young people in the city. Following a stint evading police, Turner was arrested in July 2021.

It is alleged McGinley was killed in retaliation because he may have assaulted Sharif Willis – a controversial former gang leader of the Vice Lords during the 1990s who became a key witness during the trial. Prior to sentencing, prosecutors alleged that Willis could potentially have an ulterior motive throughout his testimony.

Willis spent more than 20 years in prison following his in the Vice Lords gang during a turbulent era for Minneapolis street violence that earned the city the nickname "Murderapolis."

Since getting out of prison in 2017, Willis has worked publicly with Reverend Jerry McAfee, attempting to diffuse some of the issues in the community, particularly among young Black men. Their latest effort is called the 21 Days of Peace Initiative, involving volunteers holding space and taking back several high-crime, violent corners of Minneapolis.

"I have experienced a continuum of grief since losing my brother and feel I will so the rest of my life. The moment my brother's life was taken a sentence was given," said McGinley's sister Leah during victim impact statements. "There’s not 21 days of peace to quell the waters for my brother to be here… He was a man with many ambitions and a champion coach for the underdog."

The defense argued for a downward departure from sentencing guidelines. The judge ultimately sided with prosecutors, handing down a sentence closer to the upper end of the guidelines.

Turner maintained his innocence throughout the investigation process for second-degree murder, though admits he was high on PCP during the time of the killing.

"I offer Mr. Turner redemption. He has the opportunity to atone for his actions and do good in his life. I forgive Mr. Turner," McGinley's mother Mary said prior to sentencing.

Turner declined the opportunity to speak prior to sentencing.