Minneapolis man dies from shooting wounds 15 years later

A man who was shot in Minneapolis over 15 years ago just died of his injuries just this year. The big question now is, will the two men who shot him get away with murder?

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's office said this type of case doesn't happen often, but it does happen. According to his obituary, Sheldon Mason lived in Red Lake, Minn. with his wife and four sons, but his life changed forever on the streets of Minneapolis in October of 2000.

Mason was shot several times during a shootout in front of his mother's house near Bloomington and east 25th street after some of his relatives got into an argument with members of the native street mob at a nearby convenience store.

At first, Mason was in critical condition and had to have his leg amputated but he was eventually released from the hospital. Now the medical examiner says Mason was back at Hennepin County Medical Center in April of this year where he was pronounced dead.

The cause of his death was ruled a homicide due to complications of the gunshot wounds he got all those years ago.

"It's a tough case," University of St. Thomas law professor Charles Reid said. "We don't see these every day."

Reid said even though a jury convicted gang members Curtis Dionne and Shaun Kihega of first-degree assault and both men served their sentences, prosecutors could theoretically charge them again -- because there's no statute of limitations for murder. And it's a different crime than the ones they were already convicted of.

"Legally there is a name for this reclassified homicide," Reid said. "A person is gravely injured. The injuries prove life threatening over the long term; the person succumbs to the injury. That is reclassified from assault to homicide and then it's up to prosecutors to decide if it's worth prosecuting."

Kihega was sentenced to 11 years in prison, while Dionne got 10 years of probation and a year in the workhouse. Neither has committed another felony level crime in Hennepin County, but ultimately it will be up to the county attorney to decide whether to pursue any additional charges.