Neighbor sentenced in murder of Minneapolis artist Susan Spiller

A man has been sentenced in the 2015 murder of artist and activist Susan Spiller in Minneapolis.

Demetrius Wynne was sentenced to 27 years in prison with credit for time served, which in Wynne's case will amount to nearly three years.

It's been nearly seven years since local artist and activist Susan Spiller was found stabbed to death in her own bedroom.

Last month, the jury found Wynne guilty of second-degree murder with intent, not premeditated. They found him not guilty of second-degree murder without intent, while committing a felony. Spiller was found stabbed to death in her own bedroom following an apparent break-in in July of 2015. Wynne was 14-years-old and Spiller's next-door neighbor at the time of the killing.

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The accusations

Wynne was charged with the murder in November 2019, more than four years after Spiller's body was discovered in her home on Dupont Avenue North on the morning of July 16, 2015.

Police were called by Spiller's son, who had tried to drop off his child with his mom but couldn't get ahold of her. Police ultimately entered the home through an open window and found Spiller dead on the side of her bed, with cuts and bruises. Police say Spiller had a broken jaw, had been strangled, and stabbed multiple times.

All doors of the home were locked, and it appeared the suspect had entered through the same window police had entered through.

Police later learned that Spiller had had ongoing problems with her neighbor.

Investigators were able to connect Wynne to the murder after Wynne was arrested in a separate case and his fingerprint came up as a match as a fingerprint found on the window at Spiller's home. Investigators also later determined partial DNA profile pilled from the victim's fingernails matched Wynne.

Speaking with officers in 2019, Wynne denied knowing Spiller.

Sentencing hearing

During Thursday's sentencing, Spiller's son and daughter-in-law both delivered emotional statements to the court ahead of Wynne's sentencing.

"Susan was a beautiful person, literally filling the world with color and light, kindness, generosity, laughter, friendship, fun, passion, compassion and love," said Leyna Spiller.

Susan Spiller’s loved one poured out their hearts in wrenching victim impact statements heavy on emotion, loss, and fear. A fear that comes with having your mother and grandmother brutally attacked and killed in her own bedroom and waiting for years to find a killer and ultimately justice.

"It’s hard to put words to this long road traveled for justice," said son Jason Spiller. "But it’s well-traveled."

Wynne also spoke before his sentencing.

"I know I'm not perfect, but I don't know," said Wynne. "I'm going to be in the light that I'll make changes in my life."

"Of course, this was a brutal murder," said Judge Paul Scoggin. "Broken jaw, strangulation, multiple stab wounds, running 4 to 5 inches deep."

While the defense asked Judge Scoggin for leniency given Wynne’s age at the time of the murder, Scoggin citing the viciousness and the public safety concerns ultimately sentenced the now 21 year old to 27 years in prison.