Driver pleads guilty to killing Minneapolis protester in 2021

Nicholas Kraus is expected to plead guilty after he allegedly crashed his SUV into a group of protesters, killing one, in June 2021.

The man accused of driving a car into a group of protesters, killing one, in Minneapolis in June 2021 has pleaded guilty.

Nicholas Kraus, who was scheduled to go to trial on Monday, is charged with second-degree murder for the crash that killed 31-year-old Deonna Marie and injured three others on June 13, 2021. Instead, Kraus pleaded guilty on Monday to two of the three charges against him: second-degree murder and second-degree assault. A third charge of second-degree assault was dropped. 

Prosecutors said Kraus plowed his SUV through a protest at the intersection of West Lake Street and Girard Avenue South in Uptown. The intersection had been blocked off by protesters after federal task force members shot and killed Winston Smith, a 32-year-old Black man. 

In court on Monday, Kraus admitted in court he drove into the barricades and crowd on purpose. But, under questioning, said, "I don’t know what my intent was." 

He also admitted to being under the influence of an illegal narcotic at the time of the crash and to suffering from a mental health issue, including hearing voices.